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: Although rates of treatment seeking for mental health problems are increasing, this increase is driven primarily by antidepressant medication use, and a majority of individuals with mental health problems remain untreated. Helpseeking attitudes are thought to be a key barrier to mental health service use, although little is known about whether such attitudes have changed over time. Research on this topic is mixed with respect to whether helpseeking attitudes have become more or less positive. The aim of the current study was to help clarify this issue using a cross-temporal meta-analysis of scores on Fischer and Turner's (1970) helpseeking attitude measure among university students (N=6796) from 1968 to 2008. Results indicated that attitudes have become increasingly negative over time, r(44)=-0.53, p<0.01, with even stronger negative results when the data are weighted (w) for sample size and study variance, r(44)=-0.63, p<.001. This disconcerting finding may reflect the greater emphasis of Fischer and Turner's scale toward helpseeking for psychotherapy. Such attitudes may be increasingly negative as a result of the unintended negative effects of efforts in recent decades to reduce stigma and market biological therapies by medicalizing mental health problems.Clinical psychology review 12/2013; 34(2):99-106. DOI:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.12.001 · 7.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The role of self-labeling as 'mentally ill' and of stigma-related stress for help-seeking among young people at risk for psychosis is unknown. Stronger self-labeling and less stigma stress predicted better attitudes towards psychiatric medication and psychotherapy, controlling for clinical and sociodemographic variables. Interventions could target stigma-related stress to increase help-seeking.Psychiatry Research 12/2013; 210(3):1313–1315. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2013.08.028 · 2.68 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