Jessica Tomes Educational Psychology Poster Presentation at CAMHS, 3-5 July 2013
Experiential learning theory holds
the view that we learn by
experience. Within this theory it
is made aware that concrete
observation and active
experimentation can deepen
a persons’ understanding of a topic⁷.
This theory will be incorporated into the seminars
by a task developed by Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall⁸.
This task involves wearing a plaster with a mental
health problem written on it, the participants then
reflect on what it is like to own such a label. Within
these seminars the plasters will have the name of a
mental health problem and an adolescent age for
the participant to reflect on. They will then share
what it is like to be in the shoes of an adolescent
experiencing the issue.
Reducing Mental Health Stigma Through Education:
By Jessica Tomes
A prominent issue within schools today is that of mental health stigma. Many mental health issues begin in
youth¹ and one in ten young people suffer from a mental health issue². Therefore it is important to find ways to
reduce this stigma as it is a known barrier to seeking mental health support and can be detrimental to recovery³.
Research has shown that mental health education can reduce stigma ⁴⁺⁵. It has been argued that reducing stigma
could prevent children and adolescents becoming adults who stigmatize⁶. One of the ways in which mental
health stigma can be addressed is by emphasising the importance of teaching young people about mental health
issues and the stigma associated with them. This poster details suggested material for seminars intended for
teachers . The seminars intended outcomes are to help teachers realise the importance of learning about mental
health in school and they will have ideas and plans for teaching about mental health and stigma to their students.
In an attempt to increase empathy and understanding
for young people suffering
from a mental health issue,
participants will be shown
blog posts and videos of
young peoples experiences
of mental health stigma,
these will be from the Time To Change website.
One video, called “What Does Mental Health Stigma
Feel Like,” shows young girls, with mental health
difficulties. They talk about how it felt when they were
exposed to stigma in their schools. One girl, Emily, told
her close friends about her mental health problems
and this circulated around the school. Emily was
labelled a ‘liar’, ‘attention seeking’ and ‘dangerous’,
leaving her feeling alienated. Another girl, Cassandra,
explains that she went to a member of staff in her
school for help when she started hearing voices, the
staff member told her that the voices were “imaginary
Experiential Learning Technology as a Learning Tool
Research has found that discussing controversial issues increases knowledge, and encourages a deeper
understanding of the issues presented¹⁰. Furthermore it is has been established that group discussions,
particularly when members must be publically committed, is more effective at challenging individual attitudes and
behaviours than a persuasive lecture¹⁰. Due to this research group discussions will be encouraged. In particular
participants will be asked to write down the first word that they think of when they hear a mental disorder such as
‘schizophrenia’, these words and their consequences they have will be discussed. Furthermore participants will be
asked to work in small groups to develop an age appropriate lesson plan for a class, this is grounded in the theory
that group work can help motivate individuals and be productive¹¹.
Group Discussions and Group Work
1. Patel ,V., Flisher, A., Hetrick S. & McGorry, P. (2007). Mental health of young people: a global public-health challenge. Lancet, 3(69), pp 1302–
2. . Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., Ford, T. & Goodman, R. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004.
[Electronic version]. London: Palgrave. Retrieved from http://www.esds.ac.uk/doc/5269/mrdoc/pdf/5269technicalreport.pdf
3. Chandra, A. & Minkovitz, C. (2007). Factors that Influence Mental Health Stigma among 8th Grade Adolescents. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence, 36 (6), pp 763-774. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-006-9091-0
4. Corrigan, P.W., Fenton, W. S., Gardner, A.L., Lamb, T. A., Otey, E., Watson, A.C. & Westbrook, A. L. (2004). Changing Middle Schoolers' Attitudes
About Mental Illness Through Education. Schizophrenia bulletin, 30 (3), pp 569-572. Retrieved From:
5. Farmer, P., Graham, T., Huxley, P., Pinfold, V., Thornicroft, G. & Toulmin, H. (2003). Reducing Psychiatric Stigma and Discrimination: evaluation
of educational interventions in UK secondary schools. The British Journal of psychiatry, 182, pp 342-346. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.02.357
6. Corrigan, P.W., Goldman, H.H., Lurie, B.D., Medasani, K., Phelan, S. & Slopen, N. (2005). How Adolescents Perceive the Stigma of Mental Illness
and Alcohol Abuse. Psychiatric Service, 56 (5), 544-550. Doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.56.5.544
7. Boyatzis, R.E., Kolb, D.A & Mainemelis, C. (1999). Experiental Learning Theory: Previous Research and New Directions. [Electronic version]
Retrieved from: http://learningfromexperience.com/research_library/experiential-learning-theory/
8. Dubrow-Marshall, L. (2012, 7 November). Labels Hurt. [Weblog]. Retrieved from: http://hub.salford.ac.uk/salfordpsych/2012/11/07/labels-hurt/
9. Time to Change. (2012). What Does Stigma Feel Like? [E-Video]. Retrieved From: http://www.youtube.com/user/ttcnow2008?feature=watc
10. Slavin, R. E. (2003). Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). London: Allyn and Bacon.
11. Ormrod, J. E. (2006). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners (5th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Educaton, Inc.