Mental Health Attitudes and Beliefs in a Community Sample on the Central Coast in Australia: Barriers to Help Seeking
- 986 Downloads
There continues to be call for greater community awareness actions and strategies to reduce stigma and enhance mental health literacy nationally and internationally. To identify local barriers to help-seeking and perceptions around stigma, we developed a ‘mental health attitudes and beliefs’ survey which was administered at a range of community events on the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia. The aim was for the results of this survey to inform the development of strategies that enhance local help-seeking behaviours that are sensitive to the role of age, gender and Indigenous status. People who approached our Mental Health Information stall were invited to complete the survey and 282 individuals completed the survey. The data was analysed descriptively with a focus on comparing subgroups based on age, gender, Indigenous status, and previous service access or experience of mental illness. Cost, stigma and mental health literacy were found to be prominent barriers to help-seeking for the overall cohort; however, the ways in which or extent to which these barriers impact on help seeking varied between subgroups. A discussion of these differences and their implications for practice is the focus of this paper.
KeywordsHelp seeking Youth mental health Service barriers Gender in mental health service access Mental health literacy Mental health stigma
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethics approval for this study was received through the Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee and the Central Coast Local Health District Research Office. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National survey of mental health and well-being. Summary of results Cat No 4364.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). 2011 census of population and housing, basic community profile (catalogue number 2001.0): Central Coast. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/communityprofiles?opendocument&navpos=230.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014–2015). National Health Survey Australia—First Results. Canberra: Australian Bureau of StatisticsGoogle Scholar
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Mental health services—In brief 2016. Cat. no. HSE 180. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and WelfareGoogle Scholar
- Coates, D., & Howe, D. (2014). The importance and benefits of youth participation in mental health settings from the perspective of the headspace Gosford Youth Alliance in Australia. Children and Youth Services Review, 46, 294–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.09.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Commonwealth of Australia. (2007). NSW aboriginal mental health and well being policy 2006–2010. Canberra: Commonwealth of AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Commonwealth of Australia. (2009a). Cultural respect & communication guide: A NSW aboriginal sexual health resource. Canberra: Commonwealth of AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Commonwealth of Australia. (2009b). Fourth national mental health plan: An agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009–2014. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
- Commonwealth of Australia. (2012). Work wanted: Mental health and workforce participation. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
- Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). National aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023. Canberra: Australian Government.Google Scholar
- Farnbach, S., Eades, A., Fernando, J. K., Gwynn, J. D., Glozier, N., & Hackett, M. L. (2017). The quality of Australian Indigenous primary health care research focusing on social and emotional wellbeing: A systematic review. Public Health Research and Practice, 27(4), e27341700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kessler, R. C., Avenevoli, S., Costello, J. E., Georgiades, K., Green, J. G., Gruber, M. J.,.. . Merikangas, K. R. (2012). Prevalence, persistence, and sociodemographic correlates of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication adolescent supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(4), 372–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McIntyre, C., Harris, M. G., Baxter, A. J., Leske, S., Diminic, S., Gone, J. P., … Whiteford, H. (2017). Assessing service use for mental health by Indigenous populations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States: A rapid review of population surveys. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15, 67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Povey, J., Mills, P. P. J. R., Dingwall, K. M., Lowell, A., Singer, J., Rotumah, D., … Nagel, T. (2016). Acceptability of mental health apps for aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Australians: A qualitative study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(3), e65.Google Scholar
- Reavley, N., Cvetkovski, S., Jorm, A., & Lubman, D. I. (2010). Help seeking for substance use, anxiety and affective disorders among young people: Results from the 2007. Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 44, 729–735.Google Scholar
- Rickwood, D., Deane, F. P., & Wilson, C. (2007). When and how do young people seek professional help for mental health problems? Medical Journal of Australia, 187, S35-S39.Google Scholar
- Rickwood, D., Deane, F. P., Wilson, C., & Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Young people’s help-seeking for mental health problems. Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH), 4(3), 1–34.Google Scholar
- Sane Australia. (2013). A life without stigma. South Melbourne, VIC: Sane AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Siu, B., Chow, K., Lam, L., Chan, W., Tang, V., & Chiu, W. (2012). A questionnaire survey on attitudes and understanding towards mental disorders. East Asian Arch Psychiatry, 22, 18–24.Google Scholar
- Smith, C. (2012). Mental health and help-seeking in adolescence. Australasian Epidemologist, 19(1), 5–8.Google Scholar
- South Australia Deptartment of Health. (2010). Aboriginal health care plan 2010–2016. South Australia: Dept. of Health, Statewide Service Strategy Division.Google Scholar
- Williamson, A. B., Raphael, R., Redman, S., Daniels, J., Eades, S. J., & Mayers, N. (2010). Emerging themes in Aboriginal child and adolescent mental health: Findings from a qualitative study in Sydney, New South Wales. Medical Journal of Australia, 192(10), 603.Google Scholar
- World Health Organisation. (2014). Preventing suicide: A global imperative. Geneva: World Health Organisation.Google Scholar