Article

Mental health literacy”: a survey of the public’s ability to recognise mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment. Med J Aust

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.

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    • "Mental health literacy was a term first coined by Jorm et al. (1997, p. 187) to refer to " knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention. " Mental health literacy includes the ability to accurately recognize specific disorders, knowledge about how to seek mental health information , attitudes that facilitate problem recognition and help-seeking, as well as knowledge and beliefs about risk factors and causes for mental illness, self-help interventions, and available professional help (Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, 2007; Jorm et al., 1997). Some mental health literacy research has been conducted with youth to date. "
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    • "Mental health literacy is defined as " knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management, or prevention " (Jorm et al., 1997, p. 182), and includes knowledge and attitudes about appropriate sources of help (Jorm, 2000). Mental health literacy in the general population could lead to more positive and supportive interactions with individuals with mental disorders, which is important as the probability of close contact with an individual with a mental disorder is very high (Jorm, Morgan, & Wright, 2008). "
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    Journal of Adolescent Research 06/2015; 30(4). DOI:10.1177/0743558415569731 · 0.87 Impact Factor
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    • "In 1997, the authors published an analysis concerning the items of the knowledge about the professionals and treatments available component (Jorm, Korten, Rodgers et al., 1997), using a sample of 2031 Australians aged between 18 and 74 years. The factor analysis showed a 3-factor structure, which the authors designated as Medical (including items related to prescribed medication), Psychological (items related to professional help and therapies) and Lifestyle (items related to non-professional help, e.g. "
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