Demographic Characteristics and Seeking of Help from a Mental Health Professional

Background: Help-seeking is a multi-dimensional process. The increasing focus on early intervention in mental health disorders underscores the importance of identifying individual, family and social factors that may be related to the issue of whether and when professional help is sought. Aim: To explore the association of demographic characteristics with the pattern of help-seeking of individuals with mental health problems, whether early or delayed. Method: A critical narrative literature review was conducted concerning the demographic characteristics that possibly inhibit or facilitate the process of help-seeking by individuals from a mental health professional. Data were collected via the Medline database for the years 1964-2009, and critical analysis was made of the evidence, especially that of the last five years. Results: Delay in initiation of treatment for mental disorders is often prolonged. The factors that have been identified in various studies to influence (i.e., either inhibit or promote) help-seeking by individuals suffering from symptoms of psychotic disorders include demographic characteristics (e.g., marital status, gender, age, education). Conclusions: Understanding the role of contributing factors, such as the demographic characteristics of individuals, in the process of help seeking from a mental health professional will help in the planning of more effective intervention strategies. The introduction of effective programmes for early diagnosis in everyday practice could reduce the delay of individuals in access to the therapeutic interventions appropriate for their mental health disorders.

Category: Volume 50, N 4
Hits: 170 Hits
Created Date: 15-12-2011
Authors: Aphroditi Zartaloudi , Michael Madianos