What is the Value of Mental Health First Aid for the UK Armed Forces?

Research Paper Title

Mental health first aid for the UK Armed Forces.

Background

Education programmes in mental health literacy can address stigma and misunderstanding of mental health.

This study investigated self-rated differences in knowledge, attitudes and confidence around mental health issues following participation in a bespoke Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course for the Armed Forces.

Methods

The mixed methods approach comprised quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews.

A survey, administered immediately post-training (n = 602) and again at 10-months post-attendance (n = 120), asked participants to rate their knowledge, attitudes and confidence around mental health issues pre- and post-training.

Results

Quantitative findings revealed a significant increase in knowledge, positive attitudes and confidence from the post-training survey which was sustained at 10-months follow-up.

Semi-structured telephone interviews (n = 13) were conducted at follow-up, 6-months post-attendance.

Qualitative findings revealed that participation facilitated an ‘ambassador’ type role for participants.

Conclusions

This study is the first to have investigated the effect of MHFA in an Armed Forces community.

Findings show participants perceived the training to increase knowledge regarding mental health and to enhance confidence and aptitude for identifying and supporting people with mental health problems.

Results suggest that such an intervention can provide support for personnel, veterans and their families, regarding mental health in Armed Forces communities.

Reference

Crone, D.M., Sarkar, M., Curran, T., Baker, C.M., Hill, D., Loughren, E.A., Dickson, T. & Parker, A. (2020) Mental health first aid for the UK Armed Forces. Health Promotion International. 35(1), pp.132-139. doi: 10.1093/heapro/day112.

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.

Is there a Gender Difference in Mental Health Literacy that Affects Mental Health Attitude?

Research Paper Title

Mental Health Literacy Affects Mental Health Attitude: Is There a Gender Difference?

Background

In the current study, the researchers aimed to compare the levels of and factors associated with mental health attitude between males and females. Of particular interest was ascertaining the degree to which mental health literacy was related to mental health attitude and whether this relationship would vary by gender.

Methods

A total of 732 participants aged 18 years or more were recruited from attendees at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair. They used the Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS) to measure attitude toward and literacy of mental health.

Results

The multivariate analysis reported that males’ mental health attitude was significantly lower than females. Some factors associated with mental health attitude differed by gender as well. Among men, receiving more social support, experiencing higher levels of depression, and being married predicted greater mental health attitude. Among women, older age was associated with lower mental health attitude levels. However, mental health literacy was the strongest factor regardless of gender. Men and women with greater mental health literacy had a more positive mental health attitude.

Conclusions

Provision of tailored mental health literacy education both for males and females could potentially improve the public’s mental health attitude toward mental illness.

Reference

Lee, H.Y., Hwang, J., Ball, J.G., Lee, J., Yu, Y & Albright, D.L. (2020) Mental Health Literacy Affects Mental Health Attitude: Is There a Gender Difference? American Journal of Health Behaviour. 44(3), pp.282-291. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.44.3.1.