The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of naturalistic educational interventions on attitudes towards persons with mental illness. Methods: In a pre-post test design, 456 students in vocational University programmes to become nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, and public health workers were studied after a course in mental illness, using questionnaires focusing on familiarity with mental illness and attitudes towards the mentally ill in general and towards schizophrenia in particular. Results: The results revealed a significant improvement for the total group in their being afraid of people with mental illness in general and being more positive towards having mentally ill people living in their neighbourhood. Differences between the student groups were found. Some educational features positively influencing stigmatizing attitudes were identified. Conclusion: Education has some effect on attitudes towards patients with mental illness, mostly on fear. To understand the effective educational ingredients for change, further research is needed.




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