Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 945–952 | Cite as

Adult and peer involvement in help-seeking for depression in adolescent population

A two-year follow-up in Finland
  • Sari FröjdEmail author
  • Mauri Marttunen
  • Mirjami Pelkonen
  • Bettina von der Pahlen
  • Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino


Help-seeking among adolescents and adults is often perceived as a process involving only the health care system and the individual suffering from psychiatric symptoms. The present study attempted to create a model of help-seeking also including members of adolescents social networks. A prospective follow-up design included a school-based survey on all ninth grade students (mean age 15.5) during the academic year 2002–2003 in two Finnish towns (N = 3,278; response rate 94%); and a follow-up conducted two years later (N = 2,080; response rate 63%). The respondents were assessed for current depression and help-seeking for depression and other mental health problems each time. In the follow-up they were asked if they felt that they need help for depression and if their mother, father, sibling, peers, boy- or girl-friend or teacher had been worried about changes in their mood or behaviour. The associations of perceived need for help, help-seeking behaviour and concerns of different people, with depression at baseline were studied. Stepwise logistic regression models were computed to find the best predictors for help-seeking for depression. One third of the adolescents meeting R-BDI-13 criteria for depression at baseline still perceived a need for help for depression two years later but only a fifth of them had sought professional help. Depression at baseline was significantly associated with concerns about changes in mental health or behaviour among parents and significant others; and the concerns of mother, peers and teacher were among the best predictors of recent help-seeking for depression. To ensure adequate intervention for depressed adolescents without a social network capable of prompting referral, routine screening for depression should be applied in primary health care services and specialized services for adolescents.

Key words

adolescent health services/utilization family mental health services/utilization health services needs and demand 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sari Fröjd
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mauri Marttunen
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mirjami Pelkonen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bettina von der Pahlen
    • 3
    • 5
  • Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Tampere School of Public HealthUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  2. 2.Dept. of PsychiatryKuopio University Hospital and University of KuopioKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Dept. of Mental Health and Alcohol ResearchNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Dept. of Adolescent Psychiatry, Hospital for Children and AdolescentsHelsinki University HospitalVantaaFinland
  5. 5.Åbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland
  6. 6.Psychiatric Treatment and Research Unit for Adolescent Intensive Care (EVA)Tampere University HospitalTampereFinland

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