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Sources of information about mental health and links to help seeking: findings from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to provide an analysis of data from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) on the factors associated with the use of sources of information on mental health. A further aim is to examine the associations between the use of information sources and professional help-seeking.

Methods

Data from the 2007 NSMHWB were used. The survey sample comprised 8,841 residents of private dwellings across Australia aged 16–85 years.

Results

Television was the most common source of information about mental health issues in the previous 12 months (accessed by 20.5% of respondents) followed by pamphlets and brochures (accessed by 15.6% of respondents). Having an anxiety or affective disorder, female gender, higher levels of education and having a family member with a mental health problem was associated with the seeking of information on mental health issues from the internet, non-fiction books and brochures/pamphlets. Accessing information on the internet was associated with increased use of any mental health services, GPs and mental health professionals (MHPs).

Conclusions

The results suggest that promotion of internet resources may offer the opportunity to increase help seeking for mental health problems and may offer the opportunity to engage those least likely to seek professional help, notably young males.

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Correspondence to Nicola J. Reavley.

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Reavley, N.J., Cvetkovski, S. & Jorm, A.F. Sources of information about mental health and links to help seeking: findings from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 46, 1267–1274 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-010-0301-4

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Keywords

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Internet
  • Help seeking
  • Information