Improving mental health literacy is a key component of any population-based mental health program, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Effective strategies to increase awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health are sparse and have not been evaluated in India or among other low- and middle-income countries. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The review was based on the literature obtained from articles identified by searches of Medline, PubMed, and Google (Scholar) with the Mesh terms “mental health literacy”, “developing countries,” and “audience segmentation” between 1979 and 2012. Information was also obtained by interacting with experts in the field of health communication and public health, one of whom (M.K.) is a co-author.
Systematic reviews of studies among occidental countries have proposed that targeted approaches to mental health literacy are not only more effective, but also more cost-effective than general population approaches. Using audience segmentation to target distinct population sub-groups is a well-established best practice in health communication, is recommended for low resource settings and in situations with a limited budget, and may be especially effective when based on socio-cultural variables.
Yet to date it has not been applied in India for mental-health-related communication. The need for such cost-effective, innovative, and equitable strategies for mental health literacy is the cornerstone to mitigate stigma associated with mental illness, and improve awareness among a proportionately illiterate population.
At the time of drafting this manuscript, Dr Santosh Loganathan was pursuing his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group (EPRG), Department of Psychiatry, Washington University in St Louis, MO. He was supported for his Post-Doctoral Fellowship by Fogarty Grant # TW0581-08 (L.B. Cottler, PI).
Loganathan, S. and Kreuter, M. (2014), "Audience segmentation: identifying key stakeholders for mental health literacy interventions in India", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 159-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-03-2013-0012Download as .RIS
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