Mental Health Literacy and Stigma related to Schizophrenia

Poster C7, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Louisa Picco1, Siow Ann Chong1, Edimansyah Abdin1, Shirlene Pang1, Janhavi Vaingankar1, Mythily Subramaniam1; 1Institute of Mental Health, Singapore

Mental health literacy (MHL) and stigma are multi-factorial and can influence help-seeking behaviour. This study aims to (i) assess recognition and beliefs pertaining to treatment options and (ii) examine the extent of stigma, relating to schizophrenia. The Mind Matters Study was a population-based, cross-sectional MHL survey conducted among Singapore Residents aged 18-65. Respondents were read a vignette describing someone with schizophrenia and were asked what they think the person in the vignette is suffering from and who they should seek help from. Respondents were also administered the Depression Stigma scale and the Social Distance scale. A total of 3,006 respondents completed the survey, of which 595 were randomly assigned the schizophrenia vignette. Only 11.5% were able to correctly recognise the condition as schizophrenia, however 61.3% recognized it more broadly as a mental illness. ‘Talk to family or friends’ was the most common source of help recommended (21.5%), followed by ‘see a doctor/general practitioner’ (18.8%). Stigmatizing views were held towards those with schizophrenia with 88% endorsing the person in the vignette could get better if they wanted to and 77% felt they were unpredictable. While 66% were willing to make friends with the person described in the vignette, only 19.4% were willing for them to marry into their family. These findings highlight important deficits in MHL including poor recognition and the preference for recommending help-seeking from informal sources, combined with considerable stigma held towards people with schizophrenia. Interventional strategies to improve MHL and reduce stigma related to schizophrenia are needed.

Topic Area: Public Policy

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