Updated in 12/23/2009 10:31:59 PM      Viewed: 113 times      (Journal Article)
The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry 39 (6): 514-21 (2005)

Role of stigma and attitudes toward help-seeking from a general practitioner for mental health problems in a rural town.

Sarah Wrigley , Henry Jackson , Fiona Judd , Angela Komiti
OBJECTIVE: To examine the role of perceived stigma and attitudes to seeking care in predicting help-seeking from a general practitioner (GP) for mental health problems. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey in 2002 with self-report questionnaires assessing current levels of symptomatology, disability, attitudes towards mental illness, knowledge of prevalence and causes of mental illness, contact with mental illness and help-seeking behaviour and preferences and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. RESULTS: No significant relationship was found between symptom measures and measures of disability and help-seeking. Variables positively associated with general attitudes to seeking professional psychological help were: lower perceived stigma, and biological rather than person-based causal attributions for schizophrenia. Willingness to discuss mental health issues with a GP was predicted by the perceived helpfulness of the GP and by no other variable. CONCLUSIONS: Causal attributions and perceived stigma rather than participants' levels of symptomatology and disability influence attitudes to help-seeking for mental health issues. Efforts to improve attitudes to help-seeking should focus on reducing stigma and improving mental health literacy regarding the causes of disorders.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1614.2005.01612.x      ISSN: 0004-8674