Formal and Informal Help-Seeking for Mental Health Problems. A Survey of Preferences of Italian Students
Barbara D’Avanzo1, *, Angelo Barbato1, Stefano Erzegovesi2, Letizia Lampertico3, Filippo Rapisarda1, Lella Valsecchi3
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2012
First Page: 47
Last Page: 51
Publisher ID: CPEMH-8-47
Article History:Received Date: 23/12/2011
Revision Received Date: 17/2/2012
Acceptance Date: 26/2/2012
Electronic publication date: 31/5/2012
Collection year: 2012
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
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 Italian 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.