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The impact of psychiatric education and clinical practice on students' beliefs toward people with mental illnesses

      Abstract

      It is common knowledge that people with psychiatric illnesses are stigmatized by a broad spectrum of society. The purpose of this study was to assess the beliefs of undergraduate students toward people with mental illnesses, and determine the impact of psychiatric education and clinical practice on their beliefs. A Quasi-Experimental, single-group pre-test post-test design was used. The study was performed at a private school of health sciences in Saudi Arabia. The study sample consisted of 42 students. For data collection, the Beliefs toward Mental Illness Scale was used. Following the psychiatric education and clinical practice, the total BMIS and subscale scores were significantly lower than the scores obtained before the course. There was a statistically significant difference in the BMIS total scores (t = 2.17, p = 0.001) and subscale scores (Poor social and interpersonal skills: t = 0.78, p = 0.001; Dangerousness: t = 1.17, p = 0.001; Incurability: t = 0.42, p = 0.001) between the pre-test and post-test data. This research indicates that psychiatric educational intervention using face-to-face interaction and clinical practice interaction can positively change stigmatizing beliefs of undergraduate students toward people with mental illnesses.

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