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Neuropsychiatr. 2011;25(4):183-91.

[Raising awareness about depression together with service users and relatives - results of workshops for police officers in Lower Austria].

[Article in German]

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Psycho-Sozialer Dienst der Caritas der Diözese St. Pölten.



Within the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD), community mental health services inform in their service region in Lower Austria (pop. 1.600.000) about symptoms of depression, about treatment options and service characteristics. Social distance can be overcome preferably by public mental health projects involving users and relatives. Therefore, community mental health services in Lower Austria routinely inform the public about depression, treatment options and services together with service users and relatives. This paper presents an evaluation of workshops for police officers.


During the year 2010, 38 workshops for the police were conducted. All officers were asked to fill in the Gotland Scale of Male Depression, and to rate social distance and stereotypes regarding a case vignette of a fictitious depressive person. One week after the workshop, social distance and stereotypes were again rated.


852 police officers took part in the workshops, 703 were screened by the Gotland Scale of Male Depression. 9 % showed depressive symptoms. The officers were content with the workshops, they felt better informed afterwards and thought they could better help affected persons. The interpretation of the case vignette was more often "mentally ill" or "insane".


Personal experience with depression was more strongly related to present depressive symptoms than age or years on duty. Personal contact with a person that had been affected by depression before, and the slogan "depression can affect anybody" may have increased feelings of anxiety in officers that had taken part in the workshops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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