Crazy? So what! Effects of a school project on students' attitudes towards people with schizophrenia


B. Schulze, Department of Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 20, 04317 Leipzig, Germany E-mail:,


Objective:  Aiming at promoting young people's mental health and reducing stigma towards people with schizophrenia, project weeks were carried out with secondary school students aged 14–18 years (n=90). Key to the project week is meeting a (young) person with schizophrenia.

Method:  Students' attitudes and behavioural intentions towards people with schizophrenia were assessed before and after the project. Parallelly, a control group of students were questioned (n=60). Assessment was repeated after 1 month.

Results:  Despite expected ceiling effects, the project led to a significant reduction of negative stereotypes. For social distance, a positive trend could be observed. These developments were not present with the controls. Attitude changes were still evident at the 1-month follow-up.

Conclusion:  Results support the hypothesis that young people's attitudes about schizophrenia are susceptible to change. Antistigma projects at school level could thus be a promising approach to improving public attitudes and to preventing stereotypes from becoming reinforced.