Depression and Anxiety Stigma, Shame, and Communication About Mental Health Among College Students: Implications for Communication with Students
- College Student Affairs Journal
- Southern Association for College Student Affairs
- Volume 36, Number 1, Spring 2018
- pp. 68-79
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Colleges and universities report an increase in the number of students who seek out counseling for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Although more college students are seeking treatment, there continues to be stigma related to mental health issues. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine college students' attitudes about mental health, stigma related to depression and anxiety, and communication about mental health. Two hundred ninety-two college students enrolled in a basic communication course at a large southern university completed a survey about their mental health beliefs, stigmas, and communication about mental health. Students reported more stigma for depression than anxiety. There were also significant differences in perceived personal and perceived public stigma about these issues, with students believing the general public is more likely to stigmatize mental health. Students also reported that as communication about mental health issues increased, their personal stigmas about the health issues decreased. Implications of these findings and recommendations for communication are also discussed.