Document Type

Journal Article


Appropriate help-seeking is widely recognized as a protective factor, and vital for early treatment and prevention of mental health problems during adolescence. General medical practitioners (GPs), that is, family doctors, provide a vital role in the identification of adolescents with mental health problems and the provision of treatment as well as access to other specialists in mental health care services. The current study examined the association between suicidal ideation and intentions to seek help from a GP for suicidal thoughts, emotional problems and physical health problems, using a sample of 590 Australian high school students that was 56.7% female and aged 13-18 years (M = 15.56 years, SD = .66 years). Higher levels of suicidal ideation and general psychological distress were related to lower intentions to seek help from a GP for suicidal and physical problems. The results suggest that even at subclinical levels, increases in suicidal ideation or psychological distress may lead to help avoidance. School personnel and other gatekeepers need to be aware of this trend in order to be more assertive in encouraging and supporting appropriate help-seeking for mental health problems. School health promotion programs should consider including information to explicitly address the help negation process.