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Healthy minds for country youth: Help-seeking for depression among rural adolescents

By A Hernan, B Philpot, A Edmonds and Prasuna Reddy


Objective: To assess depression recognition, barriers to accessing help from health professionals and potential sources of help for depression among rural adolescents.Design: Cross-sectional survey.Setting: Two rural secondary schools in south-east South Australia.Participants: Seventy-four secondary school students aged 14 to 16 years.Main outcome measure(s): Depression recognition was measured using a depression vignette. Helpfulness of professionals, barriers to seeking help and help-seeking behaviours for depression were assessed by self-report questionnaire.Results: Depression was identified in the vignette by 73% (n = 54) of participants. Participants indicated that it would be more helpful for the vignette character to see other health professionals (98.6%, 95% CI, 92.0-100.0%) than a doctor (82.4%, 72.1-89.6%).arriers to seeking help from doctors and other health professionals were categorised into logistical and personal barriers. Participants agreed more strongly to personal (mean =86) than logistical barriers (mean = 2.67, P. < 0.05) for seeing a doctor. Boys and girls responded differently overall, and to personal barriers to seeing an other health professional. Sources of help were divided into three categories: formal, informal and external. Informal sources of help (mean = 4.02) were identified as more helpful than both formal (mean = 3.66) and external sources (mean = 3.72, P < 0.001). Gender differences were observed within and between the three sources of help categories.Conclusions: Recognising symptoms of depression was demonstrated in this study. Helpfulness of professionals, barriers to seeking help and potential sources of help for depression were identified. More work is required for improving depression literacy and providing effective interventions specifically for rural adolescents.© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 National Rural Health Alliance Inc

Topics: FoR 11 (Medical and Health Sciences), FoR 16 (Studies in Human Society), barrier, doctor, mental health literacy, other health professional, young people
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01136.x
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