Pilot of a consumer based anti-stigma mentorship program for nursing students

J. Konadu Fokuo (Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
Mary M. Maroney (Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Patrick Corrigan (College of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Publication date: 24 June 2019



Nurses and nursing students often hold stigmatizing attitudes toward patients with mental illness, contributing to poor health outcomes. To address this, direct contact with persons with lived experience in mental illness (i.e. consumers) has been integrated into training curricula. This has shown decreased negative attitudes and increased empathy, but gains are not typically maintained at follow-up. The purpose of this paper is to explore acceptability (i.e. feasibility, process and fidelity) and stigmatizing attitudes of nursing students after the completion of a mentor-based direct-contact curriculum to decrease stigmatizing attitudes toward persons with mental illness.


A five-week manualized contact-based mentorship program, with a mentor (i.e. consumer)–mentee (i.e. student) pairs implemented as a supplement to the clinical curriculum for 23 baccalaureate-nursing students. Feasibility (i.e. attendance), acceptability, fidelity and stigmatizing attitudes were evaluated. The Error Choice Test and the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-9) were used to assess stigmatizing attitudes.


Feasibility was 100 percent for face-to-face meetings and participants were satisfied with the integration of the program into their curriculum, indicating high acceptability. A repeated measures ANOVA yielded significant findings for stigmatizing attitudes (F (2, 21)=6.96, p<0.02, η2=0.23). This suggests that a consumer-led mentoring program may reduce mental health stigma within student-nursing populations. The AQ-9 did not yield significant results.

Research limitations/implications

This study lacked a comparison group. Future research should include a randomized controlled trial.


This study demonstrates capacity for high feasibility and acceptability for an anti-stigma curriculum in this educational context.



Fokuo, J., Maroney, M. and Corrigan, P. (2019), "Pilot of a consumer based anti-stigma mentorship program for nursing students", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-02-2019-0020

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