The Effects of a School-Based Educational Intervention on Preadolescents' Knowledge of and Attitudes towards Mental Illness

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Abstract:

Educational interventions for school-aged children to reduce the stigma of mental illness have mainly targeted high school students, and the long-term effects have rarely been considered. This article presents an evaluation of a school-based educational intervention on promoting positive attitudes and increased knowledge about mental illness in a sample of Victorian pre-adolescents. Sixty-nine grade 5 and 6 children received a 165-minute educational intervention about mental illness over two sessions. A group of 126 grade 5 and 6 children made up a control group. Knowledge, social distance and attitudes towards mental illness were assessed for both groups before and after the intervention. There was significant improvement in the intervention group on all measures compared with controls one week following the intervention, and a significant change remained four months after the intervention. These findings support the effectiveness of the intervention in changing attitudes favourably and improving knowledge about mental illness in senior primary school children.

Keywords: KNOWLEDGE; MENTAL ILLNESS (ATTITUDES TOWARDS); SCHOOL-BASED INTERVENTION; SOCIAL DISTANCE; STIGMA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • Published by The Clifford Beers Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion emphasises the interconnectedness of research, policy, training and practice and the opportunities to make progress in all these areas through global dialogue, collaboration and action. Mark Weist (University of South Carolina and former director/senior advisor of the Center for School Mental Health) and Michael Murray (The Clifford Beers Foundation) are the editors, supported by a distinguished international editorial board.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is an academic journal that co-ordinates the dissemination of new research outcomes to all those involved in policy making and the implementation of mental health promotion in schools and is essential reading for those with a personal or professional interest in this work.

    Peer reviewed by an expert international board, the Journal is a comprehensive information resource which publishes material of distinction submitted by those with a clinical, professional, academic or personal interest in promoting mental health in schools

    The aim of the Journal is to increase awareness, foster understanding and promote collaboration between the different disciplines engaged in this diverse activity of study.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is the official journal of the International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (InterCAMHS), an alliance that aims to promote the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

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