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Exploring professional help-seeking for mental disorders

Savage, Hannah, Murray, Joanna, Hatch, S. L., Hotopf, Matthew, Evans-Lacko, Sara ORCID: 0000-0003-4691-2630 and Brown, June S. L. (2016) Exploring professional help-seeking for mental disorders. Qualitative Health Research, 26 (12). pp. 1662-1673. ISSN 1049-7323

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1049732315591483


Only a third of people with mental disorders seek professional help. In this study, we aimed to investigate attitudes toward help-seeking among non-help-seekers drawn from a community survey in South London. We conducted qualitative interviews with 24 participants with symptoms of mental disorders. We analyzed data using thematic analysis. Participants’ reasons for not seeking professional help included perceiving their problems as normal or unsuitable for professional help, negative expectations of professional help, believing informal strategies were sufficient, fearing being stigmatized for having a mental disorder and help-seeking, and self-perceptions of being strong and/or self-reliant. A small number (n = 4) had resolved their problems. Participants with unresolved mental disorders (n = 20) had more chronic stressors, particularly about finances and family relationships, and greater concerns about professional help and stigma than other participants. Potential targets for interventions to encourage help-seeking could be focused around stigma about help-seeking as well as the self-perception of being strong.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 08:24
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 17:06

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