Promoting Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors by Mental Health Literacy Interventions in Secondary Education? Needs and Perspectives of Adolescents and Educational Professionals

Lindy Beukema, Janne M. Tullius*, Lies Korevaar, Jacomijn Hofstra, Sijmen A. Reijneveld, Andrea F. de Winter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Mental health literacy (MHL) interventions in secondary schools may help to improve competencies that adolescents require to stay mentally healthy and seek help if mental health problems arise. These MHL interventions should be tailored to the needs of adolescents and educational professionals (EPs) to reach sustainable implementation and long-term effectiveness. However, evidence is lacking on these needs. Thus, our aim was to explore their experiences with, and perspectives on, mental health help seeking and needs regarding MHL interventions. We performed online focus group discussions and interviews with adolescents (n = 21; 13–19 years) and EPs (n = 12) and analyzed the data using directed content analysis. We identified three themes related to mental health help seeking: (1) Limited MHL competencies of adolescents, (2) Limited competencies of EP to provide mental health support, and (3) Limited mental health promotion in the school environment. We further identified three themes regarding MHL interventions: (1) Addressing basic mental health knowledge and skills, (2) Interactive and easily accessible, and (3) Sustainable implementation. Improving the MHL competencies of adolescents and EPs, and creating a mental health-literate school environment can promote adolescents’ mental health help seeking. Our findings highlight the importance of developing MHL interventions that are tailored to both adolescents’ and EPs needs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11889
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 20-Sept-2022

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