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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69-74

Awareness and attitude toward mental illness among a rural population in Kolar

Department of Psychiatry, Sri Devaraj URS Medical College, Kolar, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. C Ruth Sneha
Department of Psychiatry, Sri Devaraj URS Medical College, Tamaka, Kolar - 563 101, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_23_18

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Background: There are few studies dealing with the diversity in people's knowledge and attitude toward mental health problems. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study, conducted in Sri RL Jalappa Hospital and Research Centre, Tamaka, Kolar. The relatives of all patients who visited the hospital served as the study population. A total of 300 consecutive individuals fulfilling the inclusion criteria were chosen for the study. The participants were interviewed using the public perceptions of mental illness questionnaire after obtaining a written informed consent. Results: Majority (39%) of the participants agreed that mental illness is caused by brain disease. On the other hand, one-fifth thought mental illness was God's punishment. About 22% thought that people with mental health problems are largely to blame for their own condition and one-third felt that someone with a mental illness was usually dangerous. The study also identified the magnitude of the stigma attached to mental illness. Almost half (46%) of the participants said they would not want people to know about it if they had a mental illness. Less than one-fifth thought someone could recover from mental illness and only 11% was aware that mental health services were available in the community. Conclusion: The present study concludes that the understanding of the nature of mental illness, its implications for social integration and management remains poor among the general public. Hence, the need for well-coordinated public education, mental health awareness programs and increased accessibility of effective mental health services.

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