Who Does - and Doesn't - Seek Mental Health Care

Mental health awareness predicts who seeks care

(RxWiki News) Millions of people around the world suffer - often needlessly - with treatable mental health issues. A new study looked at who is most likely to seek help.

Better knowledge and more acceptance of mental health issues are the major determining factors for who seeks help for mental health issues. Those are the findings of a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom.

"If you have questions, speak with a therapist."

Researchers looked at data from a United Kingdom Department of Health survey involving 1,751 adults in England. Participants had answered a series of questions relating to their knowledge and attitudes about mental health and how much contact they had had with people living with mental illness.

Responses from people who said they would seek care if they needed it were of particular interest to investigators. They found that this group:

  • Had better overall knowledge about mental illness and treatment options
  • Expressed more tolerance toward people with mental illness
  • Supported providing care within the community, rather than in institutions
  • Tended to be older than those who said they probably wouldn't seek care

Women were more likely than men to be willing to seek help and to disclose and talk about a mental illness with friends and family.

And while having contact with individuals with mental illness was linked to greater knowledge and tolerance and support for community care, these respondents were not more willing to seek help or to disclose a mental illness to others.

People who expressed attitudes of prejudice and exclusion generally had less knowledge and less contact with individuals with mental illness.

"Mental health issues impact not just individual sufferers, but their families and community at large," said Russell Ricci, M.D., Chairman of the dailyRx.com Medical Advisory Board. "That's why a top priority should be to improve awareness and acceptance of mental health diseases, disorders and treatment,"

The study authors are affiliated with King’s College in London and were led by Nicolas Rüsch, M.D.

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Review Date: 
June 16, 2011