Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 741–752 | Cite as

Facilitating Help Seeking Behavior and Referrals for Mental Health Difficulties in School Aged Boys and Girls: A School-Based Intervention

  • Darcy A. Santor
  • Christiane Poulin
  • John C. LeBlanc
  • Vivek Kusumakar
Original Paper


Although the need for early intervention for mental health difficulties is widely acknowledged, few studies have attempted to explicitly increase actual help seeking behavior for mental health difficulties. Students in intervention classrooms received two one-hour, in-class workshops on distress and help seeking and were compared to students in non-intervention classrooms in a 2-level hierarchical model. More frequent help seeking behavior and more mental health referrals were observed among students in the intervention group than among students in the comparison group. Effects were moderated by the level of distress experienced by students, but not by help seeking attitudes, and could not be accounted for by school staff referrals or website utilization. Results showed that help seeking behavior for mental health difficulties and mental health referrals can be increased with only a moderate investment in time, but that benefits of school-based intervention may be greatest among students with specific needs, such as high levels of distress.


Help seeking Youth Mental health Hierarchical linear models Intervention 



This research was supported through a Strategic Themes Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to D. A. Santor, Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4J1. Email can be sent to


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darcy A. Santor
    • 1
  • Christiane Poulin
    • 2
  • John C. LeBlanc
    • 3
  • Vivek Kusumakar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Department of PsychiatryDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Community Health and EpidemiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Community Health and EpidemiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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