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Formal and Informal Help-Seeking for Mental Health Problems. A Survey of Preferences of Italian Students

By Barbara D’Avanzo, Angelo Barbato, Stefano Erzegovesi, Letizia Lampertico, Filippo Rapisarda and Lella Valsecchi


Help-seeking preferences for mental health are a crucial aspect to design strategies to support adolescents in an emotionally delicate life phase. Informal help-seeking is usually preferred but little was published about preferences in different cultures, and it is not clear whether informal and formal help are mutually exclusive or whether they are part of the same overall propensity to help-seeking. In a survey of 710 students in Milan, Italy, help-seeking propensity measured through an Italian version of the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire was high, similar in males and females (mean total score 3.8, DS 0.9); few (9%) tended not to seek help. The most-preferred source of help was a friend, then father or mother, partner, psychologist and psychiatrist. 355 students (55%) reported high propensity to seek both informal and formal help; 33 (5%) would only seek formal help. Help-seeking should be promoted in itself, rather than indicating professionals and professional settings as primary sources of help

Topics: Article
Publisher: Bentham Open
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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