Perceived Self-Stigma In The Utilization Of Mental Health Services In Foster Care And Post Foster Care Among Foster Care Alumni.
Villagrana, Margarita. Guillen, Cindy. Macedo, Vanessa. Lee, Sei-Young.
Published: January 2018
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 85 , p. 26-34
3251 Riverport Lane
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Foster youth experience higher rates of mental health disorders and receive higher rates of mental health services in comparison to the general population. Yet, upon foster care exit, mental health service use drastically declines. Little is known as to the reasons for mental health service decline after foster care exit. However, research studies in the mental health literature have consistently shown that self-stigma and public stigma are significant in mental health service receipt. Studies have also shown that self-stigma affects an adolescent's self-identity, self-efficacy, and interpersonal relationships, which impact self-sufficiency once youth leave foster care. This study explores self-stigma in the utilization of mental health services while in foster care, and whether the stigma developed while in foster care impacts mental health service use upon foster care exit. The role of public stigma in the utilization of mental health services post foster care is also examined. Thirteen former foster youth with a mental health treatment history while in foster care were interviewed. Results show that foster youth experienced self-stigma, which increased the negative impact of mental health service receipt while in foster care. After foster care exit, youth who identified experiencing self-stigma while in foster care tended to discontinue mental health services after foster care exit. In contrast, foster youth who did not identify self-stigma in the receipt of mental health services while in foster care continued accessing services upon foster care exit. Public stigma was not identified as influencing mental health service use post foster care, but was coupled with negative labels, stereotypes, and negative perceptions. Implications for preventive and intervention measures are also discussed/proposed. (Author abstract)
mental health services; foster care alumni; foster adolescents; mental disorders; identity development; self concept; barriers; aging out; childs attitudes