An exploration of mental health literacy in relation to depression in secondary school pupils

Ericka Doyle, Shaunagh O’Sullivan, Finiki Nearchou, Eilis Hennessy

Abstract


Mental Health Literacy (MHL) refers to knowledge and beliefs about mental health problems. Although mostly studied in adult samples, it has been associated with help-seeking intentions and health service use in adolescents. The aim of the present study was to explore depression MHL and its association with help seeking intentions in a sample of adolescent participants (n = 235, 135 males) from the final three years of secondary school (mean = 16.6 years, SD = .65) in Ireland. Knowledge of depression and help-seeking intentions were measured using vignettes and self-report instruments. Findings show that the majority of adolescents recognised that a combination of depression symptoms constituted a serious mental health problem. However, they demonstrated very low MHL levels on specific symptoms such as somatic pains.The finding of restricted knowledge of depression symptoms, indicates a need for targeted interventions to improve MHL, and specifically of symptoms of depression.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jet.v4i2.10287

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