Article

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: 2.81). 07/2012; 63(7):711-3. DOI:10.1176/appi.ps.201100250
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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    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.
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