, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 629-636
Date: 16 Mar 2014

Developing Visually Based, Low-Literacy Health Education Tools for African Americans with Psychotic Disorders and Their Families

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Schizophrenia presents particular challenges to health literacy, partly due to associated neurocognitive deficits. In order to develop engaging, recovery-oriented, visually based psychoeducational tools pertaining to psychotic disorders, thirty-nine individuals, consisting of mental health service users with serious mental illnesses, family members, and mental health professionals, participated in informal discussions. Using suggestions from these groups, the first two psychoeducational booklets of a planned series were developed in collaboration with a graphic designer and visual artist. Content of the booklets was developed addressing four components: knowledge, self-efficacy/self-management, incorporating a workbook format, and planning/contracting. In a follow-up discussion group, mental health service users provided positive feedback on the completed booklets. The finished booklets are practical, accessible, engaging, and low-literacy. These and other innovative approaches are needed to enhance mental health care, promote self-efficacy/empowerment, and encourage communication between service users, family members, and providers, especially in light of limited health literacy, illness-related neurocognitive impairments, and stigma.

When this work was conducted, Dr. Compton and Ms. Broussard were affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.