Attitudes within the general population towards seeking professional help in cases of mental distress.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Although effective treatment is available for a variety of mental disorders, the treatment and help-seeking gap remains high. One of the main obstacles to help-seeking behaviour is prevailing stigmatizing attitudes. AIM To examine attitudes within the general population towards seeking professional help in times of mental distress. METHODS A representative general population survey ( N = 594) was conducted in Slovenia by means of an Internet-based questionnaire, covering data on demographic variables and attitudes towards help-seeking behaviour. RESULTS More stigmatizing attitudes towards help-seeking behaviour were found in men, single persons, those of a younger age and lower educational achievement and in respondents coming from regions with a high suicide rate. Furthermore, 52.50% of the total sample have had an experience with psychological problems, yet only 41.50% of those have sought professional help. Experience with help-seeking behaviour in the past was associated with less stigmatizing attitudes. CONCLUSION Knowledge and understanding of mental health problems are necessary prerequisites to seeking help, but not the only ones. To improve help-seeking behaviour, it is also important to combat stigmatizing attitudes. Additionally, destigmatizing campaigns should also focus on social norms.

DOI: 10.1177/0020764017724819

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Cite this paper

@article{Rokar2017AttitudesWT, title={Attitudes within the general population towards seeking professional help in cases of mental distress.}, author={Sa{\vs}ka Ro{\vs}kar and Mark Floyd Bracic and Urska Kolar and Ksenija Leki{\'c} and Nu{\vs}a Konec Juri{\vc}i{\vc} and Alenka Tan{\vc}i{\vc} Grum and Bogdan Dobnik and Vita Po{\vs}tuvan and Mojca Vatovec}, journal={The International journal of social psychiatry}, year={2017}, volume={63 7}, pages={614-621} }