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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 202-207

Knowledge, stigma, and attitude toward mental illness among rural school students

1 Department of Psychiatry, M.P. Shah Medical College and G.G. Hospital, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, M.P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
3 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, M.P. Shah Medical College and G.G. Hospital, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
4 Dr. M.K. Shah Medical College and Research Center, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Parveen Kumar
2nd Floor Department of Psychiatry, Trauma Building, M.P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_73_20

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Background: Mental illnesses have been largely neglected in India due to poor knowledge about various categories of psychiatric disorders. While stigma and discrimination toward people with mental illness is an important barrier to mental health services utilization, timely diagnosis, and treatment, the stigmatizing attitude toward mental illness starts developing at a younger age around 5 years and continuously evolves through adulthood. Aims: The current study aimed to explore the knowledge about mental illness-related disorder, stigma toward mentally ill persons, and help-seeking behavior toward mental illness. Methodology: A total of 3478 students from 9th to 12th class rural school participated in the study. Mental health knowledge of students was assessed using the “Mental Health Knowledge Questionnaire,” and attitude toward persons with mental illness was assessed using the “California Assessment of Stigma Change Scale.” Results: It was observed in our study that in students with higher mental health knowledge about mental illness, students with higher education level, older students, and students with family members affected by mental illness and grossly in females, there were overall fewer stigmas toward mental illness and this group overall believed in possibility of empowerment of mentally ill people. A negative correlation was observed among attribution score with mental health knowledge (r = −0.151) and empowerment score (r = −0.151). Conclusion: The study suggests poor knowledge and understanding about mental illness and has stigmatizing attitude toward persons with mental illness. Students were pessimistic about empowerment and recovery potential of mentally ill persons and also had a negative view toward willingness for treatment.

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