251633 Adolescents' knowledge, awareness, and attitude of mental illnesses before and after their participation in project “Let's Talk About It”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stefania Prendes-Alvarez, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Objective: This study evaluates whether “Let's Talk About It,” a middle-school-based mental health awareness project developed by a medical student, can increase adolescents' knowledge of mental illnesses, while also positively influencing attitudes and behaviors toward them; and thus reduce stigma. Methods: Twenty-one students from a middle school in Miami-Dade County, Florida participated in the project, which consisted of ten 90-minute school visits that discussed a variety of mental health topics. The students completed a questionnaire assessing their knowledge of and attitude toward mental health at the fist and last school visit, and they completed a self-efficacy questionnaire at the last school visit. Results: After participating in project “Let's Talk About It,” the students were more knowledgeable about general mental health topics, and they felt more confident about acting in a positive, non-stigmatizing manner, when confronted with difficult situations involving mental illnesses. Conclusions: In an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses, middle-school-based mental health awareness projects like “Let's Talk About It” need to be implemented at more schools.* I, Ms. Prendes, am the founder of this project that I developed the curriculum with the support from my mentor, Dr. Ana E. Campo. I am the Co-Investigator on the University of Miami IRB protocol that was designed for this study; I attended every school visit and led each discussion session.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1 - Identify the need for mental health awareness programs (aimed at reducing stigma) for middle-school students. 2 – Compare the knowledge and confidence level of the students before and after the intervention.

Keywords: Adolescents, Mental Illness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of the Delta Omega Honor Society
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.