Depressive symptoms and help-seeking intentions in young people
Whether the help-negation effect as demonstrated for suicidal thoughts was also evident for depressive symptoms was investigated in three studies of young people from diverse urban areas. The studies involved a large sample of younger high school students (years 7 – 10), a sample of older high school students (years 8 – 12), and first year university students. A self-report questionnaire that measured help-seeking intentions, prior help-seeking experiences, and depression was administered. It was found that the strongest inverse association between level of depressive symptoms was with intentions to seek help from parents across all three samples. There was a consistent trend for students to report being more likely to seek help from no one as depressive symptoms increased. Evidence of the help-negation effect being present for depressive symptoms is discussed in terms of ways to encourage appropriate and effective help-seeking in young people.