I recently completed two major studies examining barriers and facilitators towards recovery from mental illness. These two studies indicate that stigma, discrimination and social exclusion are the principal barriers towards recovery.
As such, the overall aim of my research program is to continue and expand my ongoing action-research centered on reducing stigma and fostering recovery. I will focus my research on two themes (i) Digital Technologies Theme; and (ii) Media and Mental Illness Theme. Both themes have under-researched potential to reduce stigma and foster recovery, and I have much experience therein.
I aim to complete a number of ongoing studies in 2019-2020. Knowledge garnered from these studies will be integrated, and used as an empirical foundation for new research projects.
In the digital technologies theme, I will conduct studies examining participatory video and digital storytelling programs for youth. These programs involve youth with mental illness making educational videos. These videos are shown on-line and in organized screenings in an attempt to reduce stigma and educate viewers about the realities of recovery. These programs have been under-researched, and could potentially be an effective way to engage audiences and reduce stigma.
In the media theme, I will systematically monitor and examine media coverage of mental illness, while actively attempting to improve coverage through collaborative activities with journalists, newsrooms and journalism students. I will also set-up similar media monitoring projects with colleagues in Latin America who I recently visited to brainstorm and plan new anti-stigma projects. Finally, I will examine the effect of media coverage of suicide on suicide contagion in Canada by examining statistics and news coverage before and after newsworthy suicides.