American Psychological Foundation

Stopping stigma in the nation's middle schools

Stopping stigma in the nation's middle schoolsResearch shows that even kindergarteners can have negative attitudes about mental illness. Such attitudes about mental health challenges can persist into adolescence and adulthood and lead to stigma about psychological disorders.

To change such misperceptions, graduate student Hannah Weisman is using a $5,000 Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship to conduct a prevention program in Santa Barbara, Calif., middle schools. The Mental Health Matters program, created by the Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County, teaches sixth-graders about the warning signs of mental illness and emphasizes that mental health disorders are treatable and can happen to anyone. Weisman hopes the curriculum will help foster more tolerant teens and adults.

"By fifth grade, students are able to conceptualize mental illness in a more sophisticated manner, suggesting that middle school is a developmentally opportune time to provide education about psychological disorders and to decrease stigma," she says.

The Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship is made possible by a donation from Violet Franks, PhD, and Cyril Franks, PhD. It supports promising graduate students who are using psychology to mitigate the stigma of mental illness.

Div. 13 establishes APF fund to support consulting psychology

APA's Div. 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) has donated $20,000 to establish the Society of Consulting Psychology Fund with the American Psychological Foundation.

The fund will support the training and research of psychologists in consulting psychology, as well as those psychologists transitioning to the field from other areas.

To learn more or donate to the fund, visit APF.

APF offers counseling grants

APF is partnering with Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) to support the science and practice of counseling psychology through the Counseling Psychology Grants, a small grants program that supports innovative counseling programs and models.

The first round of grantees are:

  • Ji-yeon Lee, PhD, of the University of Texas, who is working to raise awareness about older adult immigrants' care and to identify barriers to their seeking mental health services.

  • Jeffrey Hayes, PhD, of Penn State University, who is studying how race and ethnicity affect psychotherapy's effectiveness.

  • Nathaniel Wade, PhD, of Iowa State University, who is researching whether individual counseling can help people forgive themselves for past harmful actions.

For more information on the grants, contact Parie Kadir.

Upcoming APF deadlines


For more information on APF's grants and scholarships, please contact Parie Kadir, Program Officer, at (202) 336-5984.