Advances in Mental Health, Vol 9, No 1 (2010)

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General psychological distress symptoms and help-avoidance in young Australians

Coralie Wilson

Abstract


Epidemiological studies indicate that there might be a general tendency to avoid help when experiencing symptoms of psychological distress among young people. There is growing evidence that many young people prefer no help from anyone for their mental health problems. The current study examined the association between psychological distress symptoms and intentions to seek help from friends, family and professional mental health sources in a sample of 109 trade (TAFE) students from regional and rural Australia. Participants were 67% male and aged from 15-25 years. Higher levels of symptom distress were related to higher intentions to not seek help from anyone, and lower intentions to seek help from friends and family, for mental health problems. Symptom distress was the strongest unique predictor of higher intentions to seek help from no one for mental health problems. Negative beliefs about seeking treatment was the strongest unique predictor of lower intentions to seek professional mental health care for mental health problems. Help-avoidance related symptom distress and belief about treatment is discussed along with suggestions for encouraging appropriate and effective help-seeking in young people.






Advances in Mental Health
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