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Table 1 Vignettes used in 2011 Adult Survey of Mental Health Literacy and Stigma

From: Quality of helping behaviours of members of the public towards a person with a mental illness: a descriptive analysis of data from an Australian national survey

Disorder Vignette
Depression John is 30 years old. He has been feeling unusually sad and miserable for the last few weeks. Even though he is tired all the time, he has trouble sleeping nearly every night. John doesn’t feel like eating and has lost weight. He can’t keep his mind on his work and puts off making decisions. Even day-to-day tasks seem too much for him. This has come to the attention of his boss, who is concerned about John’s lowered productivity.
Depression with suicidal thoughts John is 30 years old. He has been feeling unusually sad and miserable for the last few weeks. Even though he is tired all the time, he has trouble sleeping nearly every night. John doesn’t feel like eating and has lost weight. He can’t keep his mind on his work and puts off making any decisions. Even day-to-day tasks seem too much for him. This has come to the attention of John’s boss who is concerned about his lowered productivity. John feels he will never be happy again and believes his family would be better off without him. John has been so desperate, he has been thinking of ways to end his life.
Early schizophrenia John is 24 and lives at home with his parents. He has had a few temporary jobs since finishing school but is now unemployed. Over the last six months he has stopped seeing his friends and has begun locking himself in his bedroom and refusing to eat with the family or to have a bath. His parents also hear him walking about his bedroom at night while they are in bed. Even though they know he is alone, they have heard him shouting and arguing as if someone else is there. When they try to encourage him to do more things, he whispers that he won’t leave home because he is being spied upon by the neighbour. They realize he is not taking drugs because he never sees anyone or goes anywhere.
Chronic schizophrenia John is 44 years old. He is living in a boarding house in an industrial area. He has not worked for years. He wears the same clothes in all weathers and has left his hair to grow long and untidy. He is always on his own and is often seen sitting in the park talking to himself. At times he stands and moves his hands as if to communicate to someone in nearby trees. He rarely drinks alcohol. He speaks carefully using uncommon and sometimes made-up words. He is polite but avoids talking with other people. At times he accuses shopkeepers of giving information about him to other people. He has asked his landlord to put extra locks on his door and to remove the television set from his room. He says spies are trying to keep him under observation because he has secret information about international computer systems which control people through television transmitters. His landlord complains that he will not let him clean the room which is increasingly dirty and filled with glass objects. John says he is using these “to receive messages from space”.
Social phobia John is a 30-year old who lives alone. Since moving to a new town last year he has become even more shy than usual and has made only one friend. He would really like to make more friends but is scared that he’ll do or say something embarrassing when he’s around others. Although John’s work is OK he rarely says a word in meetings and becomes incredibly nervous, trembles, blushes and seems like he might vomit if he has to answer a question or speak in front of his workmates. John is quite talkative with his close relatives, but becomes quiet if anyone he doesn’t know well is present. He never answers the phone and he refuses to attend social gatherings. He knows his fears are unreasonable but he can’t seem to control them and this really upsets him.
Post-traumatic stress disorder John is a 30-year -old who lives with his wife. Recently his sleep has been disturbed and he has been having vivid nightmares. He has been increasingly irritable, and can’t understand why. He has also been jumpy, on edge and tending to avoid going out, even to see friends. Previously he had been highly sociable. These things started happening around two months ago. John owns a newsagent shop with his wife and has found work difficult since a man armed with a knife attempted to rob the cash register while he was working four months ago. He sees the intruder’s face clearly in his nightmares. He refuses to talk about what happened and his wife says she feels that he is shutting her out.