Associations between awareness of beyondblue and mental health literacy in Australian youth: Results from a national survey

Marie B Yap, Nicola J Reavley, Anthony F Jorm
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2012, 46 (6): 541-52

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this paper is to examine whether Australian young people's awareness of beyondblue is associated with better recognition of depression and anxiety disorders, and better quality of beliefs about possible interventions and first-aid actions for these problems.

METHOD: In 2011, a telephone interview was conducted with a national sample of 3021 Australians aged between 15 and 25 years. Participants were presented with a vignette portraying depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis in a young person. They were then asked about recognition of the disorder portrayed, their beliefs about the helpfulness or harmfulness of various interventions and first-aid actions, and their awareness of beyondblue. The quality of youths' beliefs was scored against health professionals' ratings of the same list of interventions and first-aid actions.

RESULTS: Beyondblue awareness was associated with more accurate recognition of the disorder portrayed in all vignettes except social phobia. It was also associated with beliefs about the helpfulness of first-aid actions that were more closely aligned with professional ratings for the depression, psychosis and social phobia vignettes. However, it was associated with beliefs about interventions for the psychosis vignette only.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the associations of beyondblue awareness with better mental health literacy were not specific to depression and anxiety disorders, which are their main focus. Beyondblue awareness is mostly unrelated to treatment beliefs, but seems to have non-specific associations with recognition of disorders and first-aid beliefs.

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