OBJECTIVE: Confronting stigma early in life could enhance treatment seeking. In two randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one focused on psychosis and the other on adolescent depression, the efficacy and equivalence of brief social contact-based videos were evaluated and compared with a control condition. The outcomes of interest were changes in illness-related stigma and treatment-seeking intention. The hypotheses were that the intervention videos would show greater efficacy than control conditions and that traditional and selfie videos would demonstrate similar efficacy. METHODS: Young adults (study 1, N=895) and adolescents (study 2, N=637) were randomly assigned to view intervention videos (in traditional or selfie styles) or to a control condition. In short videos (58-102 seconds), young presenters humanized their illness by emotionally describing their struggles and discussing themes of recovery and hope. RESULTS: Repeated-measures analyses of variance and paired t tests showed significant differences in stigma and treatment seeking between the intervention and control groups and similar efficacy of the traditional and selfie videos. Cohen's d effect sizes ranged from 0.31 to 0.76 for changes in stigma from baseline to 30-day follow-up in study 1 and from 0.13 to 0.47 for changes from baseline to postintervention in study 2. CONCLUSIONS: The RCTs demonstrated the efficacy of brief videos, both traditional and selfie, in reducing illness-related stigma among young adults and adolescents and in increasing treatment-seeking intention among adolescents. Future studies should explore the effects of brief videos presented by social media influencers on mental health stigma and treatment engagement.
- Social contact
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