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University students' intentions to seek psychological counseling, attitudes toward seeking psychological help, and stigma.

BACKGROUND: Mental health problems are prevalent among university students worldwide. Studies have shown that most students do not disclose and do not get the psychological help and support they need.

OBJECTIVES: This survey aims to investigate the intentions to seek psychological counseling (ISC) among university students, their attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help (ATSPPH), and the predictors of those intentions and attitudes including stigma.

DESIGN AND METHODS: a cross-sectional survey was conducted among 420 students at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

RESULTS: Depression, test anxiety, and difficulty sleeping are the three main reasons students would seek psychological help. The source the students most preferred to ask for help was one's family followed by psychologists and psychiatrists. Students' ATSPPH is a positive predictor of their ISC, while students' self-stigma of seeking help (SSOSH) is a negative predictor of their ATSPPH. Moreover, students' awareness of the psychological help system available on campus, free of charge, is a positive predictor for both ISC and ATSPPH.

CONCLUSION: Different interventions are needed to reduce stigma and enhance students' mental health literacy and awareness of the available professional psychological help on campus.

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