Knowledge and attitudes towards mental health patients’ rights among mental health professionals
Introduction: It is well known that people with psychiatric disorders experience violations of their human rights. Both knowledge and attitude of mental health professionals could play a core role in guaranteeing the rights of this sensitive patient population. The aim of the present study was to explore the attitudes of mental health professionals, psychiatrists and nurses, towards mental health patients and to determine the level of knowledge towards their rights.
Method: The study was carried out at the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki among a sample of 166 mental health professionals (psychiatrists and nurses). A questionnaire, consisting of four parts, was designed for the purpose of the study.
Results: Of the total study population 68.7% were nurses and 25.3% were psychiatrists. Our findings suggest that the higher level of education is associated with a more positive attitude towards mental health patients, the attitude of mental health professionals towards the patients depends on the knowledge they have of their rights and also that psychiatrists who have a mental health patient in their family have a more positive attitude towards these patients than nurses.
Conclusion: Since knowledge of mental health patient’s rights implies a better attitude towards these patients, initiatives to inform and educate mental health professionals on these rights should be further encouraged.