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

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


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.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Ericka Doyle, Shaunagh O’Sullivan, Finiki Nearchou, Eilis Hennessy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of Education and Training      ISSN 2330-9709

Copyright © Macrothink Institute

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

If you have any questions, please contact