Author(s): Klineberg E, Biddle L, Donovan J, Gunnell D
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Abstract PURPOSE: Many young people with psychological problems do not seek help. Recognition of problems and knowledge of appropriate sources of help may increase the likelihood of help seeking. This study aimed to explore whether young adults recognised depressive symptoms in a vignette, and how they thought a young person might respond to these symptoms. METHODS: A postal survey was sent to 3,004 young people aged 16-24 in SW England. The survey included a two-part vignette; the first part depicted mild depressive symptoms, and the second part depicted severe depressive symptoms. Open-ended questions exploring symptom recognition and illness behaviour were answered by 1,125 respondents. RESULTS: Severe depressive symptoms were recognised by 61.4\% of respondents. Young men, particularly those from deprived backgrounds were less likely than women to recognise a mental health problem. Men were also less likely to suggest seeing a doctor than women. 64.7\% of the respondents who recognised a mental health problem suggested seeing a doctor, however, only 16.4\% thought a severely depressed person actually would see a doctor. CONCLUSIONS: Whilst the majority of young people recognised symptoms of severe depression, the gap between perceived options for help and proposed help seeking behaviour is clinically relevant. The sociodemographic groups at greatest risk of suicide are the least likely to recognise depression, highlighting a need to develop interventions targeting men, particularly those from deprived backgrounds.
This article was published in Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
and referenced in Alternative & Integrative Medicine