A medical-social collaboration project on Anti-stigma of Mental Illness (MI): Enhancing acceptance and help seeking of MI in Universities

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Abstract Summary

Introduction

Recent studies revealed that seven in ten HK undergraduates showed symptoms of depression and anxiety. The Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Hong Kong University analyzed 34 students’ suicidal cases and found that only 20% were receiving mental healthcare before their deaths. This harmful stigmatization associated with MI may reduce students’ motivation for seeking support from mental health service. Stigma defined as a process involving labeling, separation, stereotype awareness and discrimination in a social context . A series of anti-stigma of MI campaign was launched in Yung Fung Shee (YFS) Psychiatric Day Hospital (PDH) since 2017 with collaboration with HK University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Counseling and Wellness Centre, HK Polytechnic University (HKPU) and Tung Wah College (TWC). It included educational programs and collaboration projects of people with MI and University students through different direct contact.

Objectives

1. Facilitate positive social contact experience between students and people with SMI to enhance acceptance of MI and facilitate help seeking 2. Provide opportunities for people with MI to demonstrate their strength to public in order to reduce self-stigma and encourage social recovery

Methodology

Two nature of programs are carried out: 1. Education: Educational talk was held to explain the facts and myth about MI, useful community resources and the undergraduates could experience the life of a person with MI through a creative board game; 2. Contact: Joint programs were launched to promote contact between people with MI and the undergraduates: a) Lived experience sharing by clients in the three institutes. Clients shared their ways to cope with MI and students had open discussion with them; b) Clients held different tasks group for the students to demonstrate their strength and abilities; c) Students were invited to visit PDH to experience the real life of clients. d) Anti-stigma booth and busking performance were collaborated by people with MI and students in campus during World Mental Health Day.

Results & Outcome

13 service users and over 80 students from the three institutes joined the scheme. Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (Cantonese) Scale was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme. Paired Sample T-test showed significant improvement among service users in Question 1 (p=0.007), 4(p=0.021), 5(p=0.013), 10(p=0.007) and total average score (p=0.018). Focused interview was held among the students for qualitative analysis, reflecting improvement in awareness of MI, equality of service users and students, acceptance of MI and more willingness to seek help. To conclude, the medical-social collaboration approach for anti-stigma campaign is an innovative project which not only helped the service users re-integrating into the society, but also reduced discrimination and facilitated help-seeking of students toward mental health support services.

 

 

Abstract ID :
HAC862
Submission Type
Authors (including presenting author) :
Wong KYK(1), Sezto NWH(1), Li YSS(1), Au WCR(1)
Affiliation :
(1)Occupational Therapy Department, United Christian Hospital, (2)Counseling and Wellness Centre, University of Science and Technology

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