Research Alert: September 26, 2022

Examining the Burden of Public Stigma Associated with Mental Illness in the Rural United States

Stigma is a widely recognized barrier to receipt of health and mental health services. This policy brief documents the burden of public stigma associated with any mental illness in rural versus non-rural communities in the United States. Differences in stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs by rurality, gender, race and ethnicity, and age are examined.

Key Findings

  • Rural respondents held no more negative attitudes towards individuals with mental illness than non-rural respondents.
  • Female respondents held more positive attitudes on items related to recovery and outcomes than male respondents.
  • Younger respondents had fewer negative stereotypes relative to older respondents.
  • While similar population dynamics associated with mental health stigma were observed among rural and non-rural respondents, stigma reduction efforts are especially important in rural communities where there is limited or no access to mental health providers.
Contact Information:

Kate Beatty, PhD
Rural Health Equity Research Center
Phone: 423.439.4482

Additional Resources of Interest: