Mental Health SIG Scholars Receive Research Grants

Mental Health SIG Scholars Receive Research Grants

Two Mental Health and Psychological Well-being Members Receive Research Grants

Dr. Todd Hastings recently received a University of Phoenix Alumni Fellowship in support of a study examining college student attitudes about people with mental illness.  Students in human service disciplines (nursing, psychology, and social work) will be recruited from foundation courses in undergraduate programs at a small private college prior to clinical contact in practicum courses which take place later in their programs.  They will be provided a reliable and valid survey tool addressing attitudes relative to mental illness to get baseline perceptions (pre-test), then exposed to educationally-based interventions (media and a speaker) characterizing the lived experience of a person with mental illness.  They will be surveyed again following the interventions (post-test) plus asked their impressions on a qualitative level.  The study will run for 3 semesters to approximate different cohorts within the human service disciplines over an academic calendar year.  

Dr. Hastings has performed as a nurse educator for almost 15 years and as a psychiatric nurse professional for 25 years.  He is a strong advocate for people with mental illness and is committed to better understanding and challenging mental health stigma in his teaching, service, and scholarship roles.


Dr. Walker Ladd received a University Research Grant for in support of her study regarding the stigma of mental illness for mothers diagnosed with a bipolar disorder during the first year postpartum (0-12 months). A diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder (BD) in the postpartum period directly impacts the mother, infant, and family. The stigma of mental illness for new mothers is a powerful obstacle to care, preventing women from accessing critical care and support. Lack of medical care for women suffering from BD in postpartum period has been associated with increased risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. The problem to be addressed in this grounded theory study is the lack of knowledge regarding the stigma of mental illness for mothers diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD) in the first year postpartum. A purposive sample of 15-20 women given a clinical diagnosis of BD in the first year postpartum will participate in one, 60-90 minute recorded interview. Transcribed interviews will be analyzed in open, axial and selective order. Findings may reveal the processes through which women interpret and resolve this problem, providing a substantive theory as to stigma of mental illness for new mothers, establishing pathways for future research and suggesting potential anti-stigma interventions and policies for providers and public health. 

Dr. Ladd is the Group Lead for the Mental Health and Psychological Well-being, the Associate University Research Chair for the Center for Health Engineering and Research. She has been a maternal mental health researcher, author, and advocate since 2000.

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