Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2016


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Joris Gielen


Anti-stigma Campaigns, Ethics, Mental Health, Social Obligation, Stigma


Many mental health organizations have developed campaigns that concentrate on reducing the stigma towards mental health with the intentions of increasing access and utilization for people with mental illnesses that are not receiving appropriate mental health services. The mental health campaigns predominantly focus on establishing awareness and education related to the number of people with mental illnesses and diagnoses so that people will not be ashamed or embarrassed to have mental illnesses or access mental health treatments. However, societal prejudices have caused many people diagnosed with mental illnesses to lose jobs, homes, and families; therefore, in general, people are afraid of being diagnosed as mentally ill and seeking mental health treatments. Additionally, recent national attention and media reports of tragic and senseless events caused by people diagnosed with mental illnesses intensified the societal prejudices and stigma towards people with mental illnesses, which have depicted these people as extremely harmful to themselves and others . Consequently, societal demands magnified the need for public changes to prevent future tragedies, which contributed to President Barack Obama proposing regulations and policy agendas aimed at reducing stigma towards mental health and increasing access and utilization of mental health services. The mental health campaign initiatives and legislative proposals are supportive to the cause by reducing prejudices and barriers for people diagnosed with mental illnesses, and hopefully, preventing future tragic events. However, the research indicated that there is another barrier to mental health services impacting the lower levels of access and utilization.