Provider Opinions Regarding the Development of a Stigma-Reduction Intervention Tailored for Providers

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Interventions involving contact with a person who has recovered from mental illness are most effective at reducing stigma. This study sought input from health care providers to inform the design of a contact intervention intended to reduce provider stigma toward persons with serious mental illness. Using a purposive sampling strategy, data were collected from providers at five Veterans Affairs hospitals in the southeastern United States. Seven focus groups were conducted, and 83 health care providers participated. A semistructured interview guide was used to elicit providers’ opinions about the target group of a contact intervention for providers, what providers would consider a credible contact, the preferred format for delivery, the usefulness of potentially tailoring the intervention to a specific facility, and how to measure change in clinical behaviors. Focus group data were analyzed using rapid data analysis techniques. Participants uniformly recommended a broad target audience for the stigma-reduction intervention, including all primary care and specialist providers. They suggested that the person providing the “lived experience” for the contact intervention should be either a health care provider or a patient with serious mental illness. Face-to-face presentation was favored, but video presentation was considered more feasible. Participants stated that information about local disparities in care rendered to patients with or without mental illness would convince providers of how stigma may be a contributing factor to these disparities. Multiple training opportunities were favored, while mandatory training was disliked. Standard stigma-reduction interventions with subgroups of the general public (e.g., providers) may need to be modified for optimum subgroup effectiveness.

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