Actions taken by young people to deal with mental disorders: findings from an Australian national survey of youth
ABSTRACT The study examined actions taken by young people to deal with mental disorders and the factors associated with help-seeking and self-help behaviours.
Participants in a 2006 national survey of Australian youth (aged 12-25 years) were contacted 2 years later and participated in telephone interviews based on a vignette of one of the following disorders: depression, depression with alcohol misuse, social phobia and psychosis. Personal experiences of these disorders and subsequent self-help and help-seeking behaviours were examined.
Of the 2005 participants interviewed, 275 (14%) reported experiencing a mental disorder since January 2007, most commonly depression. The most frequent sources of help were family (77%) and close friends (73%). General practitioners (GPs) were consulted by 53% of respondents. The most frequent self-help behaviours were physical activity (70%) and getting up early and out in the sunlight (46%). Beliefs about the helpfulness of interventions at baseline were compared with actual use in the following 2 years. Interventions ranked higher for beliefs about helpfulness than actual use mainly included consulting health professionals and cutting down on substance use. Interventions ranked higher for actual use than beliefs typically included lifestyle interventions but also included consulting GPs.
Young people with mental health problems are more likely to seek help from close friends and family and to use self-help interventions than to access professional help, although over half of survey respondents had visited a GP. Help seeking tended to be better predicted by intentions to seek help than by beliefs about the helpfulness of interventions.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to carry out a national survey in order to assess young people's recognition and beliefs about treatment for depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia/psychosis. In 2011, telephone interviews were carried out with 3021 Australians aged between 15 and 25 years. Participants were presented with a case vignette describing either depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, depression with alcohol misuse, psychosis/schizophrenia, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Questions were asked about what was wrong with the person, help-seeking intentions and the likely helpfulness of a broad range of interventions. Rates of recognition of depression were relatively high, with almost 75% of respondents using the correct label. Rates of recognition for the psychosis (schizophrenia) and PTSD vignettes were similar, with around one third of respondents using the correct labels. Only 3% of respondents were able to correctly label social phobia. Intentions to seek help were highest for depression with suicidal thoughts and lowest for social phobia, with family members nominated the most likely sources of help across all vignettes. Most young people believe in the importance of seeking professional help and they have good recognition of depression. However, there is still potential for young people's mental health literacy to improve in the areas of recognition and treatment beliefs for all the mental disorders covered in this survey, particularly social phobia which has very low recognition rates and a lower perceived need for treatment.Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 09/2011; 45(10):890-8. DOI:10.3109/00048674.2011.614215 · 3.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Emotional distress is common in adolescence, and self-care strategies are frequently preferred to address it. The aim of this article is to analyze the self-care strategies among adolescents and young people diagnosed with depression or with self-perceived depressive distress in Catalonia using a qualitative design. We analyzed the self-care strategies of 105 young people (17-21 years of age) in Catalonia who had participated in a national survey on adolescents. The sample was divided into thirds, with 37 who had a previous diagnosis of depression, 33 who had self-perceived emotional distress, and 35 controls. The participants' narratives on self-care strategies for emotional distress were elicited through in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data were managed using ATLAS-Ti 6.5 software18. We applied hermeneutic theory and the ethnographic method to analyze the interviews. The ten self-care strategies identified in the analysis were grouped into four areas covering the various pathways the young people followed according to whether they had a diagnosis of depression or their depressive distress was self-perceived. The young people feel responsible for their emotional distress and consider that they are capable of resolving it through their own resources. Their strategies ranged from their individuality to sociability expressed through their relationships with others, membership of groups or other self-care strategies (relaxation, meditation, naturopathy, etc.). The study results highlight the importance of sensitivity in considering young people's self-care strategies as another option in the care of emotional distress.International Journal of Mental Health Systems 01/2015; 9:9. DOI:10.1186/s13033-015-0001-2 · 1.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background: Epidemiological data indicate that 75% of subjects with major psychiatric disorders have their onset of illness in the age range of 17-24 years. An estimated 35-50% of college and university students drop out prematurely due to insufficient coping skills under chronic stress, while 85% of students receiving a psychiatric diagnosis withdraw from college/university prior to the completion of their education. In this study, we aimed at developing standardized means of identifying students with insufficient coping skills under chronic stress and at risk for mental health problems. Sampling and Methods: A sample of 1,217 college students from 3 different sites in the USA and Switzerland completed 2 self-report questionnaires: the Coping Strategies Inventory (COPE) and the Zurich Health Questionnaire (ZHQ), which assesses 'regular exercises', 'consumption behavior', 'impaired physical health', 'psychosomatic disturbances' and 'impaired mental health'. The data were subjected to structure analyses by means of a neural network approach. We found 2 highly stable and reproducible COPE scales that explained the observed interindividual variation in coping behavior sufficiently well and in a socioculturally independent way. The scales reflected basic coping behavior in terms of 'activity-passivity' and 'defeatism-resilience', and in the sense of stable, socioculturally independent personality traits. Results: Correlation analyses carried out for external validation revealed a close relationship between high scores on the defeatism scale and impaired physical and mental health. This underlined the role of insufficient coping behavior as a risk factor for physical and mental health problems. Conclusion: The combined COPE and ZHQ instruments appear to constitute powerful screening tools for insufficient coping skills under chronic stress and for risks of mental health problems. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.Psychopathology 01/2014; 47(4). DOI:10.1159/000356398 · 1.56 Impact Factor