Mental health literacy study of general practitioners: a comparative study in Singapore and Australia

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Abstract

Objective

To compare responses to a mental health literacy survey by general practitioners in Singapore and Australia.

Method

Cross-sectional surveys of general practitioners were undertaken in Australia in 1996 (n = 872) and in Singapore in 1999 (n = 264). Questionnaires provided vignettes of schizophrenia and depression, and sought responses to a range of information assessing mental health literacy.

Results

The two groups returned generally similar responses, with high diagnostic accuracy and distinctly high agreement in judging the likely helpfulness of a range of resource people, activities and therapies. In addition to a few minor differences, the Singaporean practitioners tended to view outcome for the disorders more optimistically and to differentiate less in estimating outcome for the two disorders.

Conclusions

Previous reports of the responses by the Australian general practitioners had generally shown their views to be consistent with mental health professionals and, on several important parameters, discordant with the views of the Australian general public. This report highlights distinct similarities in general practitioner responses across cultures.

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