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BMC Psychiatry. 2012 Jul 16;12:81. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-81.

A systematic review of help-seeking interventions for depression, anxiety and general psychological distress.

Author information

1
Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. amelia.gulliver@anu.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Depression and anxiety are treatable disorders, yet many people do not seek professional help. Interventions designed to improve help-seeking attitudes and increase help-seeking intentions and behaviour have been evaluated in recent times. However, there have been no systematic reviews of the efficacy or effectiveness of these interventions in promoting help-seeking. Therefore, this paper reports a systematic review of published randomised controlled trials targeting help-seeking attitudes, intentions or behaviours for depression, anxiety, and general psychological distress.

METHODS:

Studies were identified through searches of PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane database in November 2011. Studies were included if they included a randomised controlled trial of at least one intervention targeting help-seeking for depression or anxiety or general psychological distress, and contained extractable data on help-seeking attitudes or intentions or behaviour. Studies were excluded if they focused on problems or conditions other than the target (e.g., substance use, eating disorder).

RESULTS:

Six published studies of randomised controlled trials investigating eight different interventions for help-seeking were identified. The majority of trials targeted young adults. Mental health literacy content was effective (dā€‰=ā€‰.12 to .53) in improving help-seeking attitudes in the majority of studies at post-intervention, but had no effect on help-seeking behaviour (dā€‰=ā€‰-.01, .02). There was less evidence for other intervention types such as efforts to destigmatise or provide help-seeking source information.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental health literacy interventions are a promising method for promoting positive help-seeking attitudes, but there is no evidence that it leads to help-seeking behaviour. Further research investigating the effects of interventions on attitudes, intentions, and behaviour is required.

PMID:
22799879
PMCID:
PMC3464688
DOI:
10.1186/1471-244X-12-81
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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