Assessment of Stigmatizing Attitude towards Depression and its Treatment among Medical and Paramedical Students: An Exploratory StudyAuthor(s): Yogender Kumar Malik, Adwitiya Ray and Bhupendra Singh*
Background: The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in medical schools has been continuously increasing, escalating the use of antidepressants. Despite this, a huge treatment gap persists, especially in traditional societies like India, where stigma towards mental illnesses is highly prevalent. Prejudice persists not only in the general population but also among medical students. Research on stigmatizing attitudes among medical students towards depression and its treatment is crucial to ensure timely interventions and promote mental wellbeing. Hence this paper aims to assess stigmatizing attitude towards depression and its treatment among medical and paramedical students in a tertiary care teaching hospital.
Material and Methods: Google form was created and data collection was conducted through online platforms that included 474 students. All participants were assessed for depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, antidepressants awareness, and stigmatizing attitude towards depression and antidepressants by using a 21 item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and 28-item self-administered Depression and antidepressants knowledge and awareness scale (DAKAS) respectively.
Results: In study population the mean age was of medical students was 22.07 (SD-3.17) years and paramedical students was 25.88 (SD-5.03) respectively. 80.4 % of participants were medical students and 19.8 % of participants were paramedical students. 12.2% of the medical students and 10.2% of paramedical students reported depression. 44.4% of the student’s strongly agreed that happiness achieved through anti-depressants is fake happiness, while 51.9% strongly agreed that antidepressants are addictive.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that awareness and proper knowledge about mental health are lacking among medical profession students and proper measures like medical education must be arranged to promote awareness.