In Reflection Workshops – impact on high schoolers’ attitudes towards people with mental disorders
Authors: Kocijančič S., Plot A., Pregelj P., Švab V. (contact author: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Introduction. Project named “In reflection” is a non-profit non-governmental project of Slovenian medical student organisation – SloMSIC Ljubljana. Its workshops are conducted by medical students and are designed to address and reduce taboos and stigma attached to mental disorders, self-harm and suicide among high schoolers.
Goals. The goal was to evaluate the effect of the workshop on high schoolers’ attitudes towards mental disorders. Improvement of attitudes, towards reduced discrimination scores, was expected.
Methodology. Workshops of the project In reflection are conducted by two medical students in classrooms of approx. 30 high schoolers and last 2 school hours. Peer to peer method is being used to educate participants on the topic of stigma and mental disorders. We handed out a questionnaire to determine their level of acceptance and negative attitudes towards mental disorders (created by Wolff G.) before and after the workshop in 6 different high schools in Slovenia (539 high schoolers participated, aged between 14–19 in the course of 6 months). Standard paired T-test was used (*p<0,05).
Results. A total of 486 out of 539 high schoolers responded (90% response rate) before and 425 after the workshop (78,9%). Basic comparison before and aft er the workshop yielded an improvement in 6 out of 10 questions in a less stigmatising attitude of high schoolers. Comparison by gender showed a 10% diff erence between men and women in favour of women. Two age groups were analysed and compared; high schoolers aged from 14 –16 and 17–19. Both groups achieved an improvement in 5 out of 10 questions.
Conclusion. In reflection workshops of SloMSIC improved attitudes of high schoolers towards people with mental disorders. There was no significant variation between gender and age groups. For a more precise evaluation a follow-up study should be conducted, to see if the change in attitude persists even after some time elapsed.