Stigma, Mental Health, and Counseling Service Use: A Person-Centered Approach to Mental Health Stigma Profiles

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Abstract

The current study examined reports of stigma toward mental health services, depressive symptoms, flourishing, and mental health service use among a sample of 8,285 college students across the United States who completed the Healthy Minds Study. The study aimed to: (a) identify profiles of public and personal stigma against mental health service utilization, and (b) examine the demographic predictors of stigma group membership and mental health service utilization. Latent profile analyses revealed 3 distinct groups based on public and self-stigma (i.e., “High Self, High Public Stigma,” “Average Self, High Public Stigma,” and “Low Self, Low Public Stigma”). Subsequent analyses examined demographic characteristics and mental health across the 3 groups. Results indicated significant differences in age, gender, race/ethnicity, mental health, and mental health service use across the 3 groups. Results further showed that students with high perceived need for mental health services, identifying as male or Asian, and belonging to the “High Self, High Public Stigma” group had lower likelihood of seeking mental health services in the past year. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

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