I am a PhD researcher in Queen’s University Belfast, my research is focused on mental health stigma, art-based interventions and help-seeking behaviours, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. I have recently completed a Masters in Research (Social Science), undertaking a scoping review of the evidence base for the use of art-based interventions in the area of adult mental health. I am also a social worker and currently work in the area of complex learning disability and mental health.
Increasing rates of poor mental health are growing public health concern. Within Northern Ireland mental health problems are the leading cause of disability with 1 in 5 people having a diagnosable mental health condition at any one time. This statistic is also reflected in children’s mental health where it is estimated that 45,000 children are also impacted by poor mental health. Rates are 25% higher in Northern Ireland than the remainder of the United Kingdom.
Stigma continues to be a major barrier that impedes people seeking help for mental health difficulties. Global estimates suggest that 70% people with poor mental health receive no treatment in clinical settings due to stimga. The conceptual understanding of stigma is found in the work of Goffman. Stigma can place a distinguished and different lablel on the indiviudal where they often have to choose between disclosure and silence. The impact of stimga has often been described as more debiitating that the mental heatlh condition itself.
There is now a growing evidnece base that supports the benefical impact of art-based interventions in the area of mental health and it is the aim of this research to interrogate the relationship between such interventions and their interplay with stigma and help-seeking behaviour through a mixed methods research design.