Literacy and Mental Illness

I have also focused on poor health through an NIH-funded project (R01 support now completed) designed to explore the effects that limited literacy has on the lives of individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness. This project includes collaborators at Northeastern University and the University of Adelaide in Australia. Our publications emphasize that limited literacy, when measured appropriately, is a significant barrier to recovery for mental health service consumers. A majority of individuals in our research read at or below the 8th-grade level, meaning that they read well below the population mean reading level in the United States. Moreover, we find that these individuals work to conceal both their identities as mental health service users and their limited literacy from others, believing that most people would judge them for one or both of these realities.