Date of Award

Summer 9-11-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Philip T. Yanos

Second Reader

William Gottdiener

Third Advisor

Casey LaDuke

Abstract

Mental Health First Aid has been developed to train the general public to give initial support to those in mental health crisis and development. The effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid has been questioned due to its relatively short history of the course. Mental Health First Aid was recently widely-disseminated in New York City as part of the ThriveNYC initiative. While most studies were supportive of the training, there has been no study that specifically examines New York residents. We recruited 328 New York residents who self-reported whether or not they have participated in Mental Health First Aid via Amazon Mechanical Tturk and measured their mental health literacy, stigmatizing attitudes, and beliefs about its recovery. Contrary to previous literature, hierarchical linear regression analysis revealed that Mental Health First Aid was associated with decreased mental health literacy, increased mental health stigma, and negative beliefs about its recovery. A higher level of mental health literacy was consistently associated with lower levels of all mental health stigma scales and positive beliefs about mental health treatment. Being White, single, and having current interactions with individuals with mental disorders were also associated with decreased stigma. Mental Health First Aid in New York may need to revise its training course to improve mental health literacy to deliver more appropriate initial mental health services. Further studies are needed to investigate additional associated factors of Mental Health First Aid.

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