Knowledge about Mental Illness Increases Likelihood of Seeking Help
A recent study from the American Psychiatric Association's journal Psychiatric Services, showed that knowledge about mental illness and treatments increases the likelihood of individuals seeking help. The question of what makes people willing to seek mental health care is an important area for research. Many people who need and could benefit from treatment do not seek it, which may result in unnecessary suffering for them and their families as well as social and financial costs.
Researchers looked at data from a United Kingdom Department of Health survey of 1,751 adults in England. Survey participants were asked a series of questions relating to knowledge and attitudes about mental health and contact with people with mental illness.
The researchers were particularly interested in the group who responded that they would seek care if they had a mental health problem. Participants who said that they would seek treatment if they needed it were also those who expressed stronger attitudes of tolerance toward people with mental illness and stronger support for providing care in the community (rather than in institutions). These participants, who tended to be older than those who were less willing to seek care, also had better knowledge about mental illness and available treatments. Women were more likely than men to be willing to seek help and to disclose a mental illness to friends and family.
Read more about this study here.