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      Mental health literacy of school nurses in the United Arab Emirates

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          Abstract

          Background

          To support promotion, prevention and early intervention for mental illness school nurses need to be mental health literate.

          Methods

          Three hundred and thirty-nine school nurses employed in government and private schools from three Emirates in the UAE were surveyed. A culturally adapted Mental Health Literacy questionnaire comprising three vignettes of fictional characters meeting diagnostic criteria for the target conditions along with the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) was administered to ascertain school nurses’ ability to correctly identify the conditions and to elicit beliefs about helpfulness of treatment interventions and of health care providers for these conditions.

          Results

          Less than 50% of the respondents correctly identified the disorders presented, while accurate identification of evidence-based interventions was also limited. Correlations between level of psychological distress and level of inaccurate survey responses was also revealed, respondents who correctly identified the correct diagnosis of the vignette and the most appropriate interventions were those who had a significantly lower K10 score.

          Conclusions

          Low levels of mental health literacy amongst respondents in combination with potential religious and cultural factors as reported in the literature, highlight the need for curriculum enhancements for future health professionals and a targeted program of culturally appropriate professional development focused on mental health promotion for those in clinical practice. The level of psychological distress noted in this cohort also signals a need to ensure that appropriate supports are available for clinical staff employed in schools.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Interpreting scores on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10)

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            "Mental health literacy": a survey of the public's ability to recognise mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment.

            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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              Attitudes of mental health professionals toward people with schizophrenia and major depression.

              Several studies reveal poor knowledge about mental illness in the general population and stigmatizing attitudes toward people with mental illness. However, it is unknown whether mental health professionals hold fewer stigmatizing attitudes than the general population. A survey was conducted of the attitudes of mental health professionals (n = 1073) and members of the public (n = 1737) toward mental illness and their specific reaction toward a person with and without psychiatric symptoms ("non-case" as a reference category). Psychiatrists had more negative stereotypes than the general population. Mental health professionals accepted restrictions toward people with mental illness 3 times less often than the public. Most professionals were able to recognize cases of schizophrenia and depression, but 1 in 4 psychiatrists and psychologists also considered the non-case as mentally ill. The social distance toward both major depression and the non-case was lower than toward schizophrenia. However, in this regard, there was no difference between professionals and the public. The study concludes that the better knowledge of mental health professionals and their support of individual rights neither entail fewer stereotypes nor enhance the willingness to closely interact with mentally ill people.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +971569551382 , nalyateem@sharjah.ac.ae
                rrossiter@csu.edu.au
                wfrobb@bigpond.net.au
                s.slewa-younan@westernsydney.edu.au
                Journal
                Int J Ment Health Syst
                Int J Ment Health Syst
                International Journal of Mental Health Systems
                BioMed Central (London )
                1752-4458
                22 January 2018
                22 January 2018
                2018
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 4686 5317, GRID grid.412789.1, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, ; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 4686 5317, GRID grid.412789.1, Research Institute for Medical and Health Sciences (RIMHS), University of Sharjah, ; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0368 0777, GRID grid.1037.5, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, , Charles Sturt University, ; Orange, Australia
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0437 5432, GRID grid.1022.1, Griffith University, ; Brisbane, Australia
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9939 5719, GRID grid.1029.a, Mental Health, School of Medicine, Translational Health Research Institute, , Western Sydney University, ; Sydney, Australia
                [6 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2179 088X, GRID grid.1008.9, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, , University of Melbourne, ; Melbourne, Australia
                Article
                184
                10.1186/s13033-018-0184-4
                5778639
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100012001, Al Jalila Foundation;
                Award ID: AJF201511
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2018

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