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J Affect Disord. 2014 Oct;168:65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.047. Epub 2014 Jul 5.

Evaluation of an online psychoeducation intervention to promote mental health help seeking attitudes and intentions among young adults: randomised controlled trial.

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Research School of Psychology, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Building 63, Eggleston Road, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. Electronic address:



Research has consistently identified a disparity between the prevalence of mental health concerns among young adults and their rates of formal help seeking. However, a few randomised controlled trials have identified effective interventions for increasing formal help seeking among young adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online psychoeducational intervention, targeting depression, anxiety and suicide stigma, for increasing positive attitudes towards help seeking and increasing help seeking intentions among young adults.


The study followed a single-blind parallel group randomized controlled trial design with 67 young adult (18-25 years) Australian participants, assigned to receive online psychoeducation (n=33) or online attention-matched control information (n=34) over 3 weeks. Participants in the experimental group received information on depression, anxiety, and suicide. The control group received information unrelated to mental health. Primary outcome measures were mental health literacy, mental illness stigma, attitudes toward professional help seeking and intentions to seek help. Secondary outcome variables were symptomology, satisfaction and adherence.


Significant between-group differences were found for the pre- to post-test, including increased anxiety literacy (Cohen׳s d=0.65), decreased depression stigma (d=0.53), and increased help seeking attitudes and intentions for the experimental group (d=0.58 and d=0.53, respectively).


Due to the small sample size and homogenous nature of the sample, generalisations should be made with caution.


This study demonstrates the utility and effectiveness of a brief online psychoeducation intervention for promoting help seeking among young adults.


Anxiety; Depression; Help seeking; Internet; Psychoeducation; Suicide

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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