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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 230-235

An observational study to assess mental health literacy among undergraduate students from Tamil Nadu


1 Department of Mental Health, Geraldton Regional Hospital, Geraldton, Western Australia
2 Department of Psychiatry, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Pondicherry, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Majmaah University, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B Sivaprakash
Department of Psychiatry, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Pondicherry - 607 402
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_85_20

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Background and Aim: Misbeliefs regarding mental illness is a cause of concern and needs better understanding. There is a dearth in the literature highlighting the lack of knowledge regarding the basis of mental illness among educated individuals. Therefore, this study was designed to gauge the knowledge, beliefs, and attitude regarding the mental illness of final year undergraduate students of various courses at Tamil Nadu. The aim is to study mental health literacy and its determinants among undergraduate college students. Materials and Methods: This was a questionnaire-based observational study conducted on 527 final year undergraduate students from dental, nursing, engineering, arts, and science courses. A module containing ten close-ended questions was used to assess people's knowledge regarding the basis of mental illness. A vignette-based “Mental health literacy scale” was used, which described a case of depression and was used to evaluate the participant's knowledge, beliefs, and attitude regarding mental illness. The analysis was performed using Chi-square test and binary logistic regression model. Results: The association between opinion regarding the role of antidepressant and level of contact was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The course of the study was a significant predictor of recognition (P < 0.001). The nursing course had a 17 times more predictive value for recognizing the genetic cause as a perceived cause for mental illness (P < 0.001; odds ratio = 17.508; confidence interval = 7.106–43.136). Conclusion: The study tried to evaluate the knowledge, beliefs, and attitude of college students regarding mental illness, which can help to reduce the increasing burden of mental disorders by shedding light on the significance of mental health literacy toward curbing stigma associated with it. However, future research to create awareness and sensitization towards seeking medical help for curing these psychiatric problems is needed.


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