"Mental health literacy": a survey of the public's ability to recognise mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment.
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.
- SourceAvailable from: Julia Abelson[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to explore the presence of ideological barriers to addressing local health inequalities in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. A survey of active citizens revealed low levels of awareness of the social determinants of health (SDOH) framework, and some incongruence between understanding and attitudes towards the SDOH. Support for addressing health inequalities was associated with awareness of the SDOH framework, liberal value-systems, and a cluster of socio-demographic characteristics. Liberal leaning participants were also more politically active than their conservative counterparts. Ideological barriers included lack of SDOH awareness, narrow understandings of the relative influences of the SDOH, resistance to de-prioritizing healthcare, and conservative values. Advancement of a SDOH policy agenda should incorporate wider dissemination efforts to citizens and local service providers to increase support for this framework, and utilization of existing support and political engagement from liberal-leaning demographics.Health Policy 02/2007; 80(1):158-71. DOI:10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.02.014 · 1.73 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Mental health literacy of the general public is essential for the effective promotion of society's mental health. However, there has been no investigation of the general public's mental health literacy with Japanese and Taiwanese socio-cultural backgrounds. A total of 129 Japanese and 150 Taiwanese elementary school teachers were surveyed about knowledge, beliefs and attitudes concerning schizophrenia by means of a questionnaire with a vignette describing a case of the disease. Identification of the case, cause of the disease, coping behavior for the case, and perception of stigmatizing and supporting attitudes by parents and neighbors of the case were investigated. As a common finding with the studies in Western countries, only small percentages of the Japanese and Taiwanese respondents were able to make a correct identification. A further common finding was the emphasis on psychosocial factors as a cause of schizophrenia, as was the rejection of psychotropic medication, although future study is required to determine to what extent the respondents know about therapeutic procedures utilized by psychiatrists. Significantly stronger stigma perception was shown in the Japanese respondents than in the Taiwanese, which may be attributable to the high institutionalization rate in Japan. Japanese and Taiwanese teachers' knowledge, beliefs and attitudes regarding schizophrenia were similar to those found in the general public in Western societies. Although the present study is limited in sampling and the components of the mental health literacy investigated, several working hypotheses have been extracted from it to be tested in future investigations on the Japanese and Taiwanese and other Asian general public's mental health literacy.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 06/2004; 39(5):402-9. DOI:10.1007/s00127-004-0758-0 · 2.58 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined attitudes towards eating-disordered behaviour among women in the general population. A vignette describing a fictional person meeting diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa (BN) was presented to a community sample of women aged 18-45. Respondents (n = 208) were asked a series of questions concerning the severity and prevalence of the problem described. Most respondents viewed BN as a distressing condition whose sufferers are deserving of sympathy. However, more than one-third of respondents had at some stage believed that it 'might not be too bad' to be like the person described in the vignette. Most respondents believed that the prevalence of the problem described among women in the community was likely to be between 10 % and 30 % (48.6%) or between 30% and 50 % (23.1 %). Individuals with a clinically significant eating disorder (n = 13, 6.3%) were more likely to perceive the symptoms of BN as being acceptable, and its prevalence higher, than individuals with no eating disorder diagnosis. Information concerning the medical and psychological sequelae of BN and other eating disorders might usefully be incorporated in prevention programmes. Prospective community-based research is required to elucidate the nature of the relationship between perceived acceptability of eating disorder symptoms and actual eating disorder psychopathology. Extension of the present research to examine the views of women in other cultures would also be of interest.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 05/2004; 39(4):299-304. DOI:10.1007/s00127-004-0726-8 · 2.58 Impact Factor