Association between recognition and help-seeking preferences and stigma towards people with mental illness

L. Picco, E. Abdin, S. Pang, J. A. Vaingankar, A. Jeyagurunathan, S. A. Chong, M. Subramaniam

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims. The ability to recognise a mental illness has important implications as it can aid in timely and appropriate help-seeking, and ultimately improve outcomes for people with mental illness. This study aims to explore the association between recognition and help-seeking preferences and stigmatising attitudes, for alcohol abuse, dementia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia, using a vignette-based approach. Methods. This was a population-based, cross-sectional survey conducted among Singapore Residents (n = 3006) aged 18-65 years. All respondents were asked what they think is wrong with the person in the vignette and who they should seek help from. Respondents were also administered the Personal and Perceived sub scales of the Depression Stigma Scale and the Social Distance Scale. Weighted frequencies and percentages were calculated for categorical variables. A series of multiple logistic and linear regression models were performed separately by vignette to generate odd ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the relationship between help-seeking preference, and recognition and beta coefficients and 95% confidence intervals for the relationship between stigma and recognition. Results. Correct recognition was associated with less preference to seek help from family and friends for depression and schizophrenia. Recognition was also associated with increased odds of endorsing seeking help from a psychiatric hospital for dementia, depression and schizophrenia, while there was also an increased preference to seek help from a psychologist and psychiatrist for depression. Recognition was associated with less personal and perceived stigma for OCD and less personal stigma for schizophrenia, however, increased odds of social distancing for dementia. Conclusion. The ability to correctly recognise a mental illness was associated with less preference to seek help from informal sources, whilst increased preference to seek help from mental health professionals and services and less personal and perceived stigma. These findings re-emphasise the need to improve mental health literacy and reinforce the potential benefits recognition can have to individuals and the wider community in Singapore.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Help-seeking
  • mental health literacy
  • recognition
  • Singapore
  • stigmatising attitudes

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