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

Barbara D'Avanzo
2012 Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health  
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
more » ... n 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.
doi:10.2174/1745017901208010047 pmid:22715343 pmcid:PMC3377873 fatcat:szjqb5rvtbbqjl4lswwoho754i