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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 97-104

Impact of a community-based mental health awareness program on changing attitudes of the general population toward mental health in Gujarat, India – A study of 711 respondents

1 Department of Psychiatry, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Vadodara, Gujarat, India
2 MINDS Foundation, New York City, NY, USA
3 Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Sandip H Shah
Room 204, Department of Psychiatry, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Gotri, Vadodara - 390 021, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_24_19

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Context: In India, there is a large mental illness treatment gap, especially in rural areas. Contributors to this problem include stigma and a general lack of mental health knowledge. The State Health Department of Gujarat, India, released a video tool, in 2003, with the goal being to educate the community on topics related to mental health. Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of the government-developed video tool to improve attitudes toward mental health in rural Gujarat. Settings and Design: Eight hundred and sixty-five individuals, in 17 villages in Gujarat, agreed to attend a mental health awareness workshop that used the government-developed video tool. One workshop was held in each village. A structured questionnaire evaluating attitudes was administered to the participants before and after the workshop. Subjects and Methods: government-developed video tool, standardized questionnaire for attitude evaluation. Statistical Analysis Used: A McNemar's test was used to evaluate the difference between pre- and post-scores. Results: A total of 711 participants completed the pre- and post-questionnaire. Attitudes related to psychosis, suicidal ideation, postpartum depression, learning disability, general mental illness, and perceptions of dangerousness showed significantly favorable improvement (P <.005). Attitudes related to substance abuse worsened (P < 0.005). Conclusions: Results suggest that a government-developed video tool can successfully improve short-term attitudes. Attitudes toward substance abuse may require a different approach than attitudes toward other types of mental illness.

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