Anti-stigma training for medical students: the Education Not Discrimination project

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Abstract

Background

Education Not Discrimination (END) is the component of the Time to Change programme intended to reduce mental health stigma among professionals and professional trainees.

Aims

To investigate the impact of the END anti-stigma programme on medical students immediately and after 6 months with regard to knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and empathy.

Method

A total of 1452 medical students participated in the study (intervention group n = 1066, control group n = 386). Participants completed questionnaires at baseline, and at immediate and 6-month follow-up. Groups were compared for changes in stigma outcomes.

Results

All measures improved in both groups, particularly among students with less knowledge and more stigmatising attitudes and intended behaviour at baseline. At immediate follow-up the intervention group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in stigma-related knowledge and reductions in stigma-related attitudes and intended behaviour, relative to the control group. At 6 months' follow-up, however, only one attitude item remained significantly better.

Conclusions

Although the intervention produced short-term advantage there was little evidence for its persistent effect, suggesting a need for greater integration of ongoing measures to reduce stigma into the medical curriculum.

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