Giving Compass' Take:

• According to a new study, college students who participate in fun activities that openly and honestly address mental illness are significantly less likely to stigmatize people with these conditions.

• It’s estimated that half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14. How can funders partner with organizations to help increase access to mental health services? 

Here's how to empower youth for mental health solutions. 

The study is the first to systematically survey a single graduating class over the course of their college careers on attitudes toward people with mental illness in conjunction with a sustained campaign on the topic. The study was led by Bernice Pescosolido, professor of sociology at Indiana University and director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research.

Specifically, the study examined the effectiveness of U Bring Change to Mind, a part of Bring Change to Mind, a national nonprofit focused on reducing the stigma associated with mental illness led by actress Glenn Close, whose sister and nephew live with mental illness. The researchers measured shifts in student attitudes over time though surveys in their freshman and junior years.

“This is really the first program to target stigma that’s been scientifically vetted from its inception,” says Pescosolido, whose team worked closely in collaboration with university leaders to implement a four-year anti-stigma campaign. “This pre- and post-analysis is very unique. Moreover, the results show these efforts really did change campus climate… not only regarding attitudes but also behaviors.”

Read the full article about fighting mental illness by Kevin Fryling at Futurity.