Stigma toward mental health treatment seeking and the effectiveness of such treatment have lessened over the last decade.
A study examining beliefs toward mental health treatment seeking and its effectiveness shows that Americans have grown more accepting of it in the past decade. This decline of perceived stigma has likely contributed to the growing demand for mental health services in the U.S. and will continue to do so in the coming years, according to findings from the study's lead author, Dr. Ramin Mojtabai.
The study compared data from two representative surveys, conducted in 1990-1992, and in 2001-2003, of the U.S. general population. Participants in the 2001–2003 survey were more willing than those in the prior survey to seek professional help for mental health problems (41.4%, compared with 35.6%).
Participants in the more recent survey were also more comfortable talking with a professional about personal problems (32.4% in 2001–2003 versus 27.1% in 1990–1992) and were less likely to say they would be embarrassed if others found out about it (40.3% versus 33.7%). The shifts in attitude occurred more among younger participants than with their middle-aged counterparts.
Details of the study were published in the May 2007 issue of Psychiatry Services.