The associations between psychiatric label use and young people's help-seeking preferences: results from an Australian national survey.

Research paper by M B H MB Yap, N J NJ Reavley, A F AF Jorm

Indexed on: 27 Feb '13Published on: 27 Feb '13Published in: Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences


Aims. Emerging evidence suggests that psychiatric labels may facilitate help seeking in young people. This study examined whether young people's use of accurate labels for five disorders would predict their help-seeking preferences. Methods. Young people's help-seeking intentions were assessed by a national telephone survey of 3021 Australian youths aged 15-25. Respondents were presented with a vignette of a young person portraying depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, psychosis, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They were then asked what they thought was wrong with the person, and where they would go for help if they had a similar problem. Results. Accurate psychiatric label use was associated with a preference to seek help from a general practitioner or mental health specialist. Accurately labelling the psychosis vignette was also associated with a preference to not seek help from family or friends. Conclusions. Findings add to the emerging evidence that accurate psychiatric labelling may facilitate help seeking for various mental disorders in young people, and support the promise of community awareness campaigns designed to improve young people's ability to accurately identify mental disorders.