International Journal of Social Psychiatry vol:57 issue:4 pages:387-401
Background: Community facilitators (CFs), such as pharmacists, policemen, teachers and clergy, may be an important community resource for patients with depression in addition to (mental) health professionals. However, they are ill prepared for such a role and little is known about their attitudes toward depression, which may affect practice.
Aim: To investigate CFs' attitudes toward depression and compare them to those of (mental) health professionals and nurses.
Method: Attitudes were assessed in participants (n = 2,670) of training programmes about depression in nine countries of the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD). The EAAD questionnaire included attitudes toward depression and its treatment, perceived causes, preferred treatment options, and knowledge of depression symptoms.
Results: CFs and nurses had a more negative attitude toward patients with depression and toward antidepressants, and more limited knowledge of depression symptoms than (mental) health professionals. CFs more frequently supported non-standard treatment for depression. Nurse assistants clearly differed from registered nurses with their attitudes being among the least favourable and their knowledge the most limited of all groups.
Conclusions: CFs and nurses had less favourable attitudes and more limited knowledge regarding depression when compared to mental health professionals and doctors. This may negatively affect professional collaboration, challenge optimal treatment and stigmatize patients. CFs' and nurses' knowledge and attitudes may be similar to those of the general population and be related to a lack of training in mental health issues.