Innovation of Psychiatry Course to Reduce the Stigmatization of the People with Mental Illness

Martina Cerna, Marketa Dubnova, Daniel Hanzl, Vlasta Reznikova

OBJECTIVES: The paper deals with the topic of stigmatization of people with mental illness. The aim is to present destigmatization effects of specific lessons provided with participation of peer lecturers to students of Clinical Social Worker field at the College of Polytechnics Jihlava. THEORETICAL BASE: In the Czech Republic, stigmatization is high and there has been no systematic research on this issue. The number of people with psychiatric diagnosis has been increasing and one of the key issues is their social disadvantage; even some helping professionals stigmatize. Targeted interventions, one of which is involving peer lecturers (people with own experience of mental illness) directly in education, help destigmatize. METHODS: The degree of stigmatization was measured through a standardized RIBS questionnaire filled in by students of all study fields at the College. Students from the Departments of Social Work were questioned before and after the lessons with peer lecturers. OUTPUTS: The degree of stigmatization in students is similar to common Czech population and the impact of peer lecturers has a destigmatization character. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: It is necessary to contribute to reducing stigmatization among students as part of the educational process, because social workers have great influence on the client’s social situation through non-prejudicial relationship.

destigmatization, mental illness, RIBS questionnaire, peer lecturer, stigmatization, student, education

p. 118-132