Objectives: Participatory action research (PAR) involving people with mental illness or family members is an advantage when social integration and the gap between mentally ill patients and the society are to be assessed. This study investigated the perception and attitude of the general population of Quebec (Canada) regarding two major mental illnesses: bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Methods: One thousand and one interviews were conducted with a representative sample of the adult population. PAR was implemented in developing the questionnaires and items listing used in this study. This approach was seen as a first step in a new collaboration between two milieus (academia and consumer), to support hypothesis usually well formulated by researchers. Results: The response rate was 60.7%. The perception of the etiology, behavior, attitude, stigma and medication with regards to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were collected. In general, no differences were observed with regards to mother tongue, number of individuals in the household nor geographic region. Higher education and younger age were associated with more acceptance and better understanding of the etiology and treatment of mental illness. Compared to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia was perceived as a more severe mental illness, less tolerated and more stigmatized. Conclusion: There was a strong association between the level of education and knowledge of mental illness. Thus, further efforts aimed at increasing knowledge and acceptance towards mental illness is required. Furthermore, new survey approaches that address the concerns of both academia and consumers should be created for future studies.
- Bipolar disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health