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Barriers to Mental Health

Public perceived and self-stigmatising attitudes to mental illness

Stigma and embarrassment about seeking help emerged as the most prominent barrier to help-seeking for mental health problems. Young People and Adults are concerned about what others, including the source of help itself, think of them.

Knowledge about mental health services

Young People and Adult's lack of knowledge about mental health services is a barrier to help-seeking.

Difficulty identifying the symptoms of mental illness

There is a lack of insight into or understanding of symptoms. Young people and Adults with mental distress report that they were aware of their distress, but continuously altered the meaning they attached to this distress, and whether it was "normal" to accommodate higher levels of distress and avoid seeking help.


Lack of accessibility

Lack of accessibility (for example, time, transport, cost) is a prominent barrier for receiving mental health services particularly in the studies of rural populations. A finding which is consistent with previous research on adults in rural areas. In rural settings where there is limited mental health professionals, young people may find it difficult to source close by and available help.


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