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Promoting Help-seeking using E-technology for ADolescents with mental health problems: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial within the ProHEAD Consortium



Promoting Help-seeking using E-technology for ADolescents with mental health problems: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial within the ProHEAD Consortium



Trials 20(1): 94



The highest incidence and prevalence of mental health problems across the lifespan as well as the first onset of most long-term mental health conditions are reported for youths between 14 and 25 years of age. At the same time, only 25% of adolescents with mental health problems receive professional treatment. One explanation for poor treatment access in youths is their low help-seeking behavior. Barriers that can keep children and adolescents (C&A) from seeking professional help include a lack of perceived need, structural barriers, or stigma. Interventions based on e-technology might present an effective approach, overcoming these barriers by reducing stigma and providing low-threshold access with enhanced reach, ultimately facilitating help-seeking for mental health problems among youths. The study is designed as a multi-center, randomized controlled trial. In total, an estimated number of n = 1,500 C&A with mental health problems, drawn from a school-based sample of n = 15,000 pupils attending school grades 6 to 13 (≥ 12 years of age), recruited in five regions of Germany, will be randomized either to an intervention (ProHEAD online) or a control condition. C&A in the intervention group will receive online access to tailored information and individual advice on where to seek professional help for their specific needs close to their place of living, case reports of and interaction with peers, as well as the opportunity for online and telephone counseling. C&A in the control intervention will receive a recommendation to seek help and online information on where to find professional help. All participants will be asked to complete questionnaires concerning their help-seeking behavior at baseline, during the intervention (monitoring), and also at a 1 and 2 year follow-up. The primary endpoint is the number of C&A seeking conventional face-to-face professional help in the real-world setting within 1 year after their initial screening. The trial will investigate if an Internet-based intervention can increase professional help-seeking in C&A with mental health problems. With its randomized controlled design and large-scale school-based sampling, the study aims to overcome the shortages of previous research. The intervention has the potential to narrow the treatment gap in C&A and to ultimately improve the mental health care system. German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS00014685 . Registered on 7 July, 2018.

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Accession: 066446629

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30704534

DOI: 10.1186/s13063-018-3157-7


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