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Psychiatry Res. 2014 Nov 30;219(3):525-30. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.06.027. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Predictors of help-seeking for suicidal ideation in the community: risks and opportunities for public suicide prevention campaigns.

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Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Electronic address:
Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Help-seeking behaviour for suicidality is low and the reasons for this have not systematically been examined. The aim of the current study was to examine the relationship between suicide stigma, suicide literacy and help-seeking attitudes and intentions. One thousand two hundred seventy-four Australian adults recruited via Facebook completed an online survey assessing a range of mental health outcomes. High suicide literacy and low suicide stigma were significantly associated with more positive help-seeking attitudes and, among a subsample of 534, greater intentions to seek help. Attribution of suicide to isolation was associated with more positive attitudes toward help-seeking and greater intentions to seek help, while respondents experiencing suicidal ideation had more negative attitudes toward help-seeking and lower intentions to seek help. Lower depressive symptoms, older age and female gender were associated with more positive help-seeking attitudes and higher help-seeking intentions. However, there were differential associations of specific suicide knowledge items and specific stigmatising attitudes with help-seeking outcomes; suggesting a nuanced approach may be required to promote help seeking for suicidality. Suicide knowledge and attitudes play an important role in the help-seeking process for suicide and should be carefully considered in the development of public awareness campaigns.


Help-seeking; Literacy; Stigma; Suicide

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