Abstract BACKGROUND: Mental health problems in young adults are frequent and impairing, but are often left untreated. This study among young adults with self-perceived mental health problems examines beliefs about mental health problems (i.e. their cause, consequences, timeline, and controllability) and help-seeking behaviour. METHOD: A cross-sectional population survey (n = 2,258) in the south-west Netherlands. Participants were included who reported having mental health problems during the past year (n = 830). Beliefs about cause, consequences, timeline, and controllability of self-perceived mental health problems were assessed with the Illness Perception Questionnaire. Internalizing and externalizing psychopathology was assessed with the Adult Self-Report. RESULTS: A multivariate logistic regression analysis indicates that independent of sex, age, and severity of psychopathology, higher levels on the intra-psychic causes scale (OR = 1.95, 95%CI = 1.48-2.58), the consequences scale (OR = 1.81, 95%CI = 1.40-2.33), and the treatment control scale (OR = 1.97, 95%CI = 1.60-2.41) are associated with an increased likelihood of mental health service use, while higher levels of personal control (OR = 0.76, 95%CI = 0.62-0.93) are associated with a decreased likelihood. CONCLUSIONS: Beliefs that may encourage young adults with mental health problems to seek professional help include the beliefs that mental health problems have adverse consequences and that treatment can help. Since these beliefs are related to young adults' knowledge of mental health problems, help-seeking behavior may be encouraged by educating young adults about mental health problems and the effective mental health treatments which are available.

barriers-to-care, help-seeking behavior, mental health problems, self-regulation model, young adults
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-008-0428-8, hdl.handle.net/1765/22881
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: the international journal for research in social and genetic epidemiology and mental health services
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vanheusden, K, van der Ende, J, Mulder, C.L, van Lenthe, F.J, Verhulst, F.C, & Mackenbach, J.P. (2009). Beliefs about mental health problems and help-seeking behavior in Dutch young adults. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: the international journal for research in social and genetic epidemiology and mental health services, 44(3), 239–246. doi:10.1007/s00127-008-0428-8