Targeting specific audiences for mental-health literacy in India can help make the best use of limited resources to increase awareness and decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness, according to new recommendations from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
The recommendations are based on a literature review of articles about mental health literacy, developing countries, and segmentation.
“Educating and covering segments across a large country like India is a major challenge,” wrote the authors, Dr. Santosh Loganathan, associate professor at the National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences in Bangalore, India; and Dr. Matthew W. Kreuter, associate dean for Public Health at the Brown School. “Targeted approaches to mental health literacy are not only more effective, but also more cost-effective than general population approaches.”
Segments for targeting could include families of patients, people with mental illness, health care providers, teachers, priests, and village leaders.
“Strategies to increase awareness and decrease stigma must run parallel with availability of services,” add the authors. They suggest segmenting the structure of mental health literacy programs at the same time or just before scaling up services.
The paper was published in the Journal of Public Mental Health.