Survey finds people more willing to disclose experience of mental health problems

by Liz Banks-Anderson
Credit: StephanFoto/Pixabay

(Medical Xpress)—A new survey has found that people are more willing to disclose their experience of having a mental health problem and receiving treatment.

The findings of the survey, which was led by Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, also indicated improved knowledge and beliefs about mental health problems within the community due, in part, to educational campaigns about mental health.

Lead researcher Dr Nicola Reavley from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health said this increase in willingness to disclose is most likely due to changing attitudes towards and greater awareness of mental health problems, rather than more people having mental health problems or more people having treatment.

"We conducted a national survey of mental health literacy, that is, what people know and believe about mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia. We compared these results with previous surveys carried out since 1995," Dr Reavley said.

"The results of the study revealed that the numbers of those disclosing experiences of depression and early schizophrenia, and of having received professional help for depression, have increased since 1995."

"We know that people are better at recognising the symptoms of depression than they used to be. It is also possible that there is less stigma around disclosure, although we still have a lot of work to do in that area," Dr Reavley said.

In 1995, 45 per cent of people said they knew someone like the person given in the case description, while in 2011, 71 per cent of people said this.

The study also showed that between survey periods 2003, 2004 and 2011, females were more likely than males to disclose experiencing depression, while those born overseas were more likely than those born in Australia to disclose experiencing with suicidal thoughts.

Researchers say these findings can contribute to the design of public education and anti-stigma interventions. Such policies could facilitate early treatment-seeking by improving recognition of mental disorder signs and symptoms, knowledge of appropriate treatments and minimise the impact of stigma as a barrier to seeking professional help.

"This new information helps us to understand how things can change in the population and the impact of campaigns to reduce the stigma of problems," Dr Reavley said.

Related Stories

Depression stigma may be fading: survey

date Oct 11, 2012

(HealthDay)—Most Americans know what depression is and believe there is no shame in seeking treatment for the mental health condition, a new survey shows.

Depression and mental health services usage

date Sep 30, 2013

More than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year, a new study has found.

Recommended for you

Online illusion: Unplugged, we really aren't that smart

date 4 hours ago

The Internet brings the world to our fingertips, but it turns out that getting information online also has a startling effect on our brains: We feel a lot smarter than we really are, according to a Yale-led study published ...

People in MTV docusoaps are more ideal than real

date 4 hours ago

More midriff, cleavage and muscle is seen in MTV's popular television docusoaps such as The Real World, Jersey Shore or Laguna Beach than in the average American household. Semi-naked brawny Adonises and even more scantily ...

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

date 4 hours ago

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study provides gamers with some ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.