Article

"Mental health literacy": a survey of the public's ability to recognise mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment.

NHMRC Social Psychiatry Research Unit, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.
The Medical journal of Australia (Impact Factor: 3.79). 03/1997; 166(4):182-6.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess the public's recognition of mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of various treatments ("mental health literacy").
A cross-sectional survey, in 1995, with structured interviews using vignettes of a person with either depression or schizophrenia.
A representative national sample of 2031 individuals aged 18-74 years; 1010 participants were questioned about the depression vignette and 1021 about the schizophrenia vignette.
Most of the participants recognised the presence of some sort of mental disorder: 72% for the depression vignette (correctly labelled as depression by 39%) and 84% for the schizophrenia vignette (correctly labelled by 27%). When various people were rated as likely to be helpful or harmful for the person described in the vignette for depression, general practitioners (83%) and counsellors (74%) were most often rated as helpful, with psychiatrists (51%) and psychologists (49%) less so. Corresponding data for the schizophrenia vignette were: counsellors (81%), GPs (74%), psychiatrists (71%) and psychologists (62%). Many standard psychiatric treatments (antidepressants, antipsychotics, electroconvulsive therapy, admission to a psychiatric ward) were more often rated as harmful than helpful, and some nonstandard treatments were rated highly (increased physical or social activity, relaxation and stress management, reading about people with similar problems). Vitamins and special diets were more often rated as helpful than were antidepressants and antipsychotics.
If mental disorders are to be recognised early in the community and appropriate intervention sought, the level of mental health literacy needs to be raised. Further, public understanding of psychiatric treatments can be considerably improved.

2 Bookmarks
 · 
229 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course is being used as a tool for educating communities worldwide about mental health. MHFA instructors' experiences in delivering MHFA are not widely documented. In this study, MHFA instructors in 1 state were interviewed and surveyed about their experiences. The findings are that the most common reason for becoming an MHFA instructor was to have a community impact; the most frequently mentioned instructor-identified characteristic was strong teaching or presentation skills, with past clinical experience or education being helpful. Agencies typically deliver MHFA in a team-teaching model, utilize informal marketing or advertisement and often offer the course at a financial loss. Findings suggest that in delivering MHFA, agencies should be deliberate in selecting and training instructors and in creating an agency delivery plan.
    International Journal of Mental Health Promotion. 11/2013; 15(5):275-287.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Enhancement of mental health literacy for youth is a focus of increasing interest for mental health professionals and educators alike. Schools are an ideal site for addressing mental health literacy in young people. Currently, there is limited evidence regarding the impact of curriculum-based interventions within high school settings. We examined the effect of a high-school mental health curriculum (The Guide) in enhancing mental health literacy in Canadian schools.Methods We conducted a secondary analysis on surveys of students who participated in a classroom mental health course taught by their usual teachers. Evaluation of students¿ mental health literacy (knowledge/attitudes) was completed before and after classroom implementation and at 2-month follow-up. We used paired-samples t-tests and Cohen¿s d value to determine the significance and impact of change.ResultsThere were 265 students who completed all surveys. Students¿ knowledge significantly improved between pre- and post-tests (p¿<¿0.001; d¿=¿0.90) and was maintained at follow-up (p¿<¿0.001; d¿=¿0.73). Similarly, attitude significantly improved between pre- and post-tests (p¿<¿0.001; d¿=¿0.25) and was significantly higher at follow-up than base-line (p¿<¿0.007; d¿=¿0.18)Conclusions The Guide, applied by usual teachers in usual classroom curriculum, may help improve student knowledge and attitudes regarding mental health. This is the first study to demonstrate the positive impact of a curriculum-based mental health literacy program in a Canadian high school population.
    BMC Psychiatry 12/2014; 14(1):1694. · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the perceived impact of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) on individuals who took the class through a community mental health center in rural Kansas. One hundred and seventy-six MHFA graduates completed an online survey assessing their perception of the impact of completing the MHFA course. Findings corresponded with previous Australian MHFA studies that found outcomes including improved mental health literacy and changed attitudes and behaviors, but the study sample limits generalizability. Suggestions are given for additional research across more diverse settings in the United States to validate the use of MHFA, and to better understand change processes that occur as a result of MHFA.
    Social Work in Mental Health 11/2013; 11(6):563-577.