Society for Medical Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Medical anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists have shown that mental health stigma has a negative effect on family outcomes, including child performance relative to his/her peers, family socioeconomic status, and family and child quality of life. There is little insight into how families may be integrated into the evaluative process for child mental health that is the beginning of mental health care and prevention. Applying medical anthropology using interview and survey methodology to understanding types of mental health stigma is crucial in providing insight as to how and why parents perceive the stigma and how these types of stigma affect their decision-making on behalf of their children during the process. There are differing root aspects of mental health stigma such as fear of disclosure and economic burden that may affect parental perceptions differently--and as a result, affect decision-making. Using an intersectionality framework, this research considers how parental identities may affect the types of perceived stigma and the decision-making process. This paper will demonstrate how parents conceive of mental health, mental illness, and child mental health, and will provide insight as to how parents navigate evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for their children in Phoenix, Arizona.