Decreasing Stigma and Improving Therapeutic Interventions for Psychiatric Patients in the Emergency Department

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Findings suggest that stigma associated with mental health may be as strong in healthcare providers as it is in the general public. Research involving non-behavioral health nurses, and medical and

Findings suggest that stigma associated with mental health may be as strong in healthcare providers as it is in the general public. Research involving non-behavioral health nurses, and medical and nursing students, sought to identify bias and negative attitudes directed towards psychiatric patients in a non-psychiatric setting. Studies were reviewed to determine the effects of educational interventions to teach empathy and increase knowledge related to the pathology of, and treatment modalities for, psychiatric patients. Several scales were used to measure bias and rate interventions to minimize it.

Studies found that healthcare personnel, including nurses, are considered by mental health consumers to be primary contributors to stigma and discrimination against those with mental illness. The studies also discovered that participation in an educational intervention to learn empathy and acquire knowledge about psychiatric patients directly decreased bias. The project utilized the evidence-based practice PRECEDE-PROCEED model (PPM) supported by Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). Combining the PPM with the SCT is supported in the literature as they both rely on learned behavior.

Moving forward, the presentation was completed and participation sought. It was at this point the project shifted its perspective. Out of 80 nurses asked to attend 1 of the 2 presentations, a total of 3 nurses participated. The search for statistical significance was not possible. We were left to formulate descriptive statistics to interpret the outcomes and reflect on their meaning.