• mental health education;
  • schizophrenia;
  • Chinese;
  • translation;
  • equivalence

An assessment of the patients’ needs in Mental Health Education

Aim of the study.  The aim of this study was to identify the specific educational needs of Chinese patients with schizophrenia using a Chinese version of the Educational Needs Questionnaire.

Background.  Patient education provides adequate clinical information to patients, increases understanding of their illness condition and encourages their health-promoting behaviour. A full understanding and satisfaction of patient needs in relation to specific illness has played an important part in the development of an education programme for psychiatric patients. However, psychiatric patients’ perceptions of their specific educational needs and whether or not these needs are being met have seldom been explored for the purposes of optimizing the effects of patient education programmes. This study served the purpose of assessing the learning needs of Chinese patients with schizophrenia in Hong Kong.

Design.  A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Hong Kong with 192 Chinese outpatients with schizophrenia. The principles for determining the equivalence of translated tools were applied to the development of the Chinese version of the questionnaire.

Results.  Patients gave high importance to gaining information about mental illness, strategies for improving social relationships and solving daily problems. Socioeconomic factors including education level and membership in a mutual support group correlated significantly with need importance and the unmet-need score. Length of illness negatively correlated with need importance, indicating the adverse effect of illness on patients’ interests in fulfilling needs.

Conclusions.  Assessment of mental health consumers’ perceptions of their specific educational needs and tailoring patient educational curricula to the expressed needs appear essential. The importance of validity testing of a translated tool is also highlighted in this study.