+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Barriers of mental health treatment utilization among first-year college students: First cross-national results from the WHO World Mental Health International College Student Initiative



Barriers of mental health treatment utilization among first-year college students: First cross-national results from the WHO World Mental Health International College Student Initiative



International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2019: E1782



Although mental disorders and suicidal thoughts-behaviors (suicidal thoughts and behaviors) are common among university students, the majority of students with these problems remain untreated. It is unclear what the barriers are to these students seeking treatment. The aim of this study is to examine the barriers to future help-seeking and the associations of clinical characteristics with these barriers in a cross-national sample of first-year college students. As part of the World Mental Health International College Student (WMH-ICS) initiative, web-based self-report surveys were obtained from 13,984 first-year students in eight countries across the world. Clinical characteristics examined included screens for common mental disorders and reports about suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Multivariate regression models adjusted for socio-demographic, college-, and treatment-related variables were used to examine correlates of help-seeking intention and barriers to seeking treatment. Only 24.6% of students reported that they would definitely seek treatment if they had a future emotional problem. The most commonly reported reasons not to seek treatment among students who failed to report that they would definitely seek help were the preference to handle the problem alone (56.4%) and wanting to talk with friends or relatives instead (48.0%). Preference to handle the problem alone and feeling too embarrassed were also associated with significantly reduced odds of having at least some intention to seek help among students who failed to report that they would definitely seek help. Having 12-month major depression, alcohol use disorder, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors were also associated with significantly reduced reported odds of the latter outcome. The majority of first-year college students in the WMH-ICS surveys report that they would be hesitant to seek help in case of future emotional problems. Attitudinal barriers and not structural barriers were found to be the most important reported reasons for this hesitation. Experimental research is needed to determine whether intention to seek help and, more importantly, actual help-seeking behavior could be increased with the extent to which intervention strategies need to be tailored to particular student characteristics. Given that the preference to handle problems alone and stigma and appear to be critical, there could be value in determining if internet-based psychological treatments, which can be accessed privately and are often build as self-help approaches, would be more acceptable than other types of treatments to student who report hesitation about seeking treatment.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 066767029

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 31069905

DOI: 10.1002/mpr.1782


Related references

Increasing intentions to use mental health services among university students. Results of a pilot randomized controlled trial within the World Health Organization's World Mental Health International College Student Initiative. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2018: E1754, 2018

Mental disorder comorbidity and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys International College Student initiative. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2018: E1752, 2018

The role impairment associated with mental disorder risk profiles in the WHO World Mental Health International College Student Initiative. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2018: E1750, 2018

The World Health Organization World Mental Health International College Student initiative: An overview. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2019: E1761-E1761, 2019

Severe role impairment associated with mental disorders: Results of the WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student Project. Depression and Anxiety 35(9): 802-814, 2018

Viewpoint: WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student initiative: Implementation issues in low- and middle-income countries. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2019: E1756-E1756, 2019

WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student Project: Prevalence and distribution of mental disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 127(7): 623-638, 2018

Mental health of college students and their non-college-attending peers: results from a large French cross-sectional survey. Bmc Psychology 4: 20, 2016

Mental health of college students and their non-college-attending peers: results from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry 65(12): 1429-1437, 2008

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among college students and same-aged peers: results from the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 53(3): 279-288, 2018

Comparing Japanese International College Students' and U.S. College Students' Mental-Health-Related Stigmatizing Attitudes. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development 37(3): 178-189, 2009

Mental disorders among college students in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. Psychological Medicine 46(14): 2955-2970, 2016

The role of personality traits and barriers to mental health treatment seeking among college students. Psychological Services 14(4): 513-523, 2018

Statement of perspectives on the mental health needs of international students Committee on the Health Needs of International Students. American College Health Association. Journal of the American College Health Association 25(4): 280-281, 1977

Somatic presentation of mental health concerns, stigma, and mental health treatment engagement among college students. Journal of American College Health 2019: 1-8, 2019