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Mental health first aid training among pharmacy and other university students and its impact on stigma toward mental illness

Mental health first aid training among pharmacy and other university students and its impact on stigma toward mental illness

Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning 10(10): 1342-1347

Information on effective and replicable methods employed in pharmacy and other college students to combat stigmatizing beliefs toward those with mental illness is limited. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an international, standardized, eight-hour course focused on helping members of the general public triage a mental health crisis. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of MHFA training on stigmatizing attitudes toward those with mental illness among pharmacy and non-pharmacy students. Pharmacy and non-pharmacy students were invited to voluntarily participate in one of two MHFA sessions. A survey utilizing the Social Distance Scale (SDS) and Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaire (AMIQ) was given to participants before and after the MHFA session to assess change in stigmatizing behavior. Thirty-four pharmacy students and 21 non-pharmacy students participated in the study. Overall, stigma toward depression and schizophrenia decreased. For the SDS schizophrenia vignette, a statistically significant improvement (p < 0.05) was seen on six of the seven responses for pharmacy students and on four responses in non-pharmacy students. Both pharmacy and non-pharmacy students improved on one item in the SDS depression vignette. For the AMIQ, pharmacy students demonstrated statistically significant improvement on four items in the schizophrenia vignette and five items in the depression vignette. Non-pharmacy students showed improvement on two items for both the AMIQ schizophrenia and depression vignettes. MHFA was effective in decreasing stigmatizing beliefs among pharmacy and non-pharmacy students. These findings support the utilization of teaching methods that emphasize the patient experience and humanize mental illness.

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Accession: 065987143

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PMID: 30527363

DOI: 10.1016/j.cptl.2018.07.001

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