Attitudes and Beliefs About Treatment Among College Students With Untreated Mental Health Problems

Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, M3517 SPH II, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 2.41). 07/2012; 63(7):711-3. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This study estimated attitudes and beliefs about treatment in a national sample of college students with untreated mental health problems.
A retrospective analysis of the 2007 and 2009 Healthy Minds Study, an online survey of college students in the United States, was conducted. The random sample included 13,105 survey participants from 26 institutions. Students with untreated depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation (N=2,350) were classified by attitudes about treatment (stigma), beliefs about effectiveness of treatment, and perceived need for treatment.
A majority (65%) of untreated students reported low stigma and positive beliefs about treatment effectiveness, including 42% who perceived a need for help and 23% who did not.
For a large proportion of young people with untreated mental illness, attitudes and knowledge about mental illness may no longer be among the main barriers to help seeking. Research and practice need to consider new approaches for understanding and influencing help-seeking behavior.

17 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article reviews what is known about help-seeking behavior for mental health problems in college populations and offers suggestions for the next steps that could be undertaken to improve knowledge and practice in this area. Our review suggests that traditional barriers, such as stigma, can only partially explain the high prevalence of untreated disorders. We discuss the conclusions and limitations of research on campus-based intervention strategies, including anti-stigma campaigns, screening programs, and gatekeeper trainings. In proposing new directions for research and practice, we consider insights from research on other health behaviors (e.g., diet and exercise) as well as innovative ideas from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology regarding behavior change.
    Harvard Review of Psychiatry 07/2012; 20(4):222-32. DOI:10.3109/10673229.2012.712839 · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objectives: This study sought to describe self-reported barriers to professional help seeking among college students who are at elevated suicide risk and determine if these barriers vary by demographic and clinical characteristics. Participants: Participants were 165 non-treatment seekers recruited as part of a Web-based treatment linkage intervention for college students at elevated suicide risk (from September 2010 through December 2011). Methods: Data were collected using Web-based questionnaires. Two coders coded students' responses to an open-ended question about reasons for not seeking professional help. Results: The most commonly reported barriers included perception that treatment is not needed (66%), lack of time (26.8%), and preference for self-management (18%). Stigma was mentioned by only 12% of students. There were notable differences based on gender, race, and severity of depression and alcohol abuse. Conclusions: Efforts aimed at reaching students at elevated risk for suicidal behavior should be particularly sensitive to these commonly described barriers.
    Journal of American College Health 10/2013; 61(7):398-406. DOI:10.1080/07448481.2013.820731 · 1.45 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This pilot study explored students' responses to feedback about their own and their peers' depression symptoms. The study also examined how experiences with the normative feedback might vary according to academic exposure to depression-related topics. For 9 weeks, female undergraduates (N = 73) completed a weekly web-based version of the 8-item Patient Health Questionnaire, which gauges depression symptom levels. Next, they participated in semi-structured face-to-face interviews where they responded to the personalized normative feedback. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Students responded favorably to the feedback and without notable distress. The feedback increased students' awareness of their own depression symptoms and those of their peers. Those with higher academic exposure to depression-related topics were more likely to have accurate perceptions of their peers' depression symptoms and were less likely to be surprised by information in the feedback than students with less exposure. Personalized normative feedback for depression symptoms has potential as an effective tool for promoting more accurate views of personal and peer depression symptoms and reducing barriers to help-seeking. Students with less academic exposure to depression-related topics may benefit from increased knowledge of how to gauge their own depression symptoms and increased awareness of their peers' symptoms. Further research is needed to more fully evaluate the effects of this feedback and to directly assess the effects of this feedback on help-seeking behaviors.
    Academic Psychiatry 03/2014; 38(4). DOI:10.1007/s40596-014-0076-0 · 0.81 Impact Factor
Show more


17 Reads
Available from