Past Issues

Mental Health Literacy: Impact of Newspaper Report on Increasing Recognition of Psychotic Prodrome

Chen-Chung Liu, M.D., Ph.D.1 Yu-Chan Chiu, Ph.D.2 Yen-Nan Chiu, M.D.1  Meng-Chuan Lai, M.D.1 Hai-Gwo Hwu, M.D.1 

Background:Two waves of newspaper report of cases depicting favorable outcomes of early identifi cation and intervention of a schizophrenic prodrome were released to facilitate identifi cation of subjects at risk of psychosis. Methods:This study is a naturalistic observation of subjects who made appointments to a special clinic for risk assessment during November1, 2006 to December 31, 2007 of a teaching hospital in Taipei. Results:We found that after the fi rst wave of news report, the number of new appointments per session was signifi cantly increased from 2.3 to 4.3 (t = 2.94, df = 42, p = 0.0053), and that after the second wave of news report, the number was also signifi cantly increased (6.7 new appointments/ session, t = 4.93, df = 42, p < 0.001). But the second wave subjects included fewer (37%) eligible for case recruitment compared to the fi rst wave (67%) and comparison (57 %) (χ2 = 8.17, p = 0.017). The subjects after the second wave were found to be much younger than the fi rst wave (19.5 ± 3.9 vs. 22.1 ± 4.2 years old; t = -2.77, df = 75, p = 0.007) and the comparison group (21 ± 4.1; t = -2.04, df = 129, p = 0.043). Conclusion:Newspaper reports drew attention in the lay public and prompted them to seek for assessment, yet the impact was affected by the subtle differences in reporting. For a relatively uncommon and ill-defi ned clinical entity with the prodromal state of psychosis, we suggest that approaches using media report should be fi nely tuned to facilitate audience’s self-identifi cation and referral. This observation adds information in understanding mental health literacy in the public in Taiwan.
Key Word schizophrenic prodrome, newspaper report, impact, mental health literacy
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