January 18, 2019
There are attitudes within most societies that view symptoms of mental illness as threatening and uncomfortable. These attitudes frequently foster stigma and discrimination towards people diagnosed with these conditions.
Research suggests these negative feelings and attitudes towards individuals with mental health problems also exist among health care students and professionals and can lead to inferior patient care.
In her research, Devon Sherwood, Pharm.D., BCPP, assistant professor, College of Pharmacy, set out to identify stigma towards mental illness among health profession students in pharmacy, nursing and social work programs.
She also sought to identify if primary psychiatric coursework in each curriculum has an impact on students’ perceptions.
Her research concluded the current education of health care providers does not appear to change students’ stigma, suggesting educational gaps requiring attention.
Furthermore, the curriculum in place for nursing, social work and pharmacy students in her study does not appear to
remarkably impact student views of mental illness and subsequently does not mitigate barriers that stigma elicits when caring for patients.
Sherwood’s research is published ahead of print on ScienceDirect, a website that provides subscription-based access to a large database of scientific and medical research. It will soon be published in the journal Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.