Toward a multi-level strategy to reduce stigma in global mental health: overview protocol of the Indigo Partnership to develop and test interventions in low- and middle-income countries.
Gronholm PC., Bakolis I., Cherian AV., Davies K., Evans-Lacko S., Girma E., Gurung D., Hanlon C., Hanna F., Henderson C., Kohrt BA., Lempp H., Li J., Loganathan S., Maulik PK., Ma N., Ouali U., Romeo R., Rüsch N., Semrau M., Taylor Salisbury T., Votruba N., Wahid SS., Zhang W., Thornicroft G.
There is increasing attention to the impacts of stigma and discrimination related to mental health on quality of life and access to and quality of healthcare. Effective strategies for stigma reduction exist, but most evidence comes from high-income settings. Recent reviews of stigma research have identified gaps in the field, including limited cultural and contextual adaptation of interventions, a lack of contextual psychometric information on evaluation tools, and, most notably, a lack of multi-level strategies for stigma reduction. The Indigo Partnership research programme will address these knowledge gaps through a multi-country, multi-site collaboration for anti-stigma interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, and Tunisia). The Indigo Partnership aims to: (1) carry out research to strengthen the understanding of mechanisms of stigma processes and reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental health conditions in LMICs; and (2) establish a strong collaborative research consortium through the conduct of this programme. Specifically, the Indigo Partnership involves developing and pilot testing anti-stigma interventions at the community, primary care, and mental health specialist care levels, with a systematic approach to cultural and contextual adaptation across the sites. This work also involves transcultural translation and adaptation of stigma and discrimination measurement tools. The Indigo Partnership operates with the key principle of partnering with people with lived experience of mental health conditions for the development and implementation of the pilot interventions, as well as capacity building and cross-site learning to actively develop a more globally representative and equitable mental health research community. This work is envisioned to have a long-lasting impact, both in terms of the capacity building provided to participating institutions and researchers, and the foundation it provides for future research to extend the evidence base of what works to reduce and ultimately end stigma and discrimination in mental health.