Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: There is an increased incidence of mental health issues among college and professional students. Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year. Perceived stigma is a major deterrent for patients seeking mental healthcare. Other barriers include lack of knowledge about mental healthcare, inability to recognize symptoms in one’s self, and inability to identify adequate healthcare resources for mental health symptoms. Approaches to educate professional students, who may need care and who will be involved in care of others, is imperative for ensuring appropriate access to mental health care in the future.
Methods: A unique, innovative event was offered to pharmacy students in conjunction with nursing and allied health students. A cabaret styled creative show entitled She’s Crazy (McCamley, McCamley & Springfield, 2019, Feisty Broad Productions) was presented by three performers with a variety of mental health disorders. The 75-minute play addressed a number of disease states such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, BPD, bipolar disorder and others. Performers highlighted symptoms and provided moving examples of misguided public stigmas. All the performers also provided powerful insights through their personal testimony. After the performance, interprofessional groups of 8-10 students were led by a trained faculty member in discussion of the learnings from the play. Questions relating to how it affected their perception of mental illness, understanding myths of associated stigma, and how this information would be helpful in respective professions were discussed within the groups. Programmatic assessments were completed by all participants.
Results: Thirty-nine pharmacy students along with 58 students from the other professions participated in the event. Eleven program assessment questions on a 5-point Likert scale (1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree) were administered to the participating students. Overall average for all the question responses among pharmacy students was 4.74 (range 4.64-4.87) and very similar for all students of 4.75 (range 4.7-4.85). Two specific questions included: “Performance content was practical and was an effective way to learn about mental health” (mean 4.76) and “I have gained insights on how multiple professions can work together to support those effected by mental health illness” (mean 4.72). A number of positive remarks were made in the assessment by students. Two such comments were “this was an incredible different perspective in mental health education” and “this experience changed my view about mental illness”.
Conclusion: Continued education and awareness of mental health is important for improved care. Overall, this was an effective model for educating professional students regarding mental illness, associated stigma myths and insight regarding their professional role in addressing this issue.