Adolescent Mental Health Literacy: Young People’s Knowledge of Depression and Social Anxiety Disorder

Coles, M. E.,
Ravid, A.,
Gibb, B.,
George-Denn, D.,
Bronstein, L. R.,
McLeod, S.
Year Published: 2016
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Journal of Adolescent Health
Volume: 58

Issue: 1

AB Nearly 80 percent of youth ages 6-18 years with a mental disorder fail to receive treatment. International data suggest that limited mental health literacy is associated with lower rates of recognition and treatment for mental illness. In the present study, a sample of 1,104 U.S. high School students participated in a self-report study assessing knowledge and beliefs regarding mental illness. They read vignettes portraying peers with major depression, social anxiety disorder, and a situation where the individual has to cope with a common life stressor, and answered a series of questions in reference to each vignette. Forty percent of participants correctly labeled the depression vignette while only 1 percent correctly labeled the social anxiety vignette. Adolescents were also more likely to recommend seeking help for depression. Findings suggest that efforts to help adolescents recognize mental health problems and increase their likelihood of recommending professional help could be important. Modified Author Abstract.

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