Introduction: Stigma attached to the mentally ill is a universal phenomenon. Objectives: We aim to explore the perceptions of medical students related to Psychiatry and mental illness, and to compare these perceptions at three different time points: 2006, 2013 and 2018. Methods : We conduct a cross-sectional descriptive, analytic and comparative study in 5th year medical students of the Tunis Medical Faculty between April and May 2018. Students responded to a questionnaire elaborated for this study to explore the perception of mental illness and psychiatric training. Results are compared with those of 2006 and 2013 conducted with the same methodology. Results : 30 students were included. Psychiatry was perceived as essential for 70%, 60.7% and 60 % of students in 2018, 2013, 2006 respectively. It remained a science reserved for specialists for 26.7% of students in 2018 in comparison with 30% in 2006. The rate of students who think that psychiatry is an obscure science has significantly decreased from 2006 to 2018. None of the students interviewed in 2018 considered that the mental patient can be recognized by the inspection. This attitude was different from that of 2006 (23.3% of students). Conclusion: Positive attitudes towards psychiatry among medical students is to encourage because stigmatizing attitudes among doctors themselves can result in compromised patient care.
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