Could Programmes to Improve Mental Health Literacy Facilitate Formal as well as Informal Help-seeking among Unemployed Persons with Mental Health Problems?

Research Paper Title

Mental health literacy and help-seeking among unemployed people with mental health problems.

Background

Unemployed people with mental health problems often do not use available mental health services.

Help-seeking may depend on knowledge, recognition and attitudes associated with mental health – a concept referred to as mental health literacy (MHL).

Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of MHL on help-seeking intentions and behaviours among unemployed individuals with mental health problems.

Methods

A total of 301 unemployed individuals with mental health problems were recruited mainly from employment agencies in Southern Germany.

MHL was assessed by the Mental Health Knowledge Schedule (MAKS), the Depression Literacy Scale (DLS), and the Depression with Suicidal Thoughts Vignette.

Help-seeking intentions and behaviours were measured using the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ).

Associations between MHL and help-seeking intentions and behaviours were tested using regression analyses and structural equation modelling (SEM).

Results

All three MHL scales were significantly positively associated with help-seeking intentions and behaviors.

In their SEM model, greater MHL was significantly associated with increased intentions and behaviours to seek help from health professionals (formal help) and from family and friends (informal help).

Conclusions

Among unemployed persons with mental health problems, programmes to improve MHL could facilitate formal as well as informal help-seeking.

Future research should examine the efficacy of MHL-interventions to increase help-seeking.

Reference

Waldmann, T., Staiger, T., Oexle, N. & Rusch, N. (2020) Mental health literacy and help-seeking among unemployed people with mental health problems. Journal of Mental Health (Abingdon, England). 29(3), pp.270-276. doi: 10.1080/09638237.2019.1581342. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

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