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Rural adolescents' attitudes to seeking help for mental health problems

by Kristy Francis, Candice Boyd, Damon Aisbett, Karyn Newnham & Krystal Newnham

Little research has been undertaken into the barriers facing rural adolescents seeking help and support for mental health problems. This study presented students from rural secondary schools in Victoria with hypothetical scenarios involving adolescents in rural areas with mental disorders and posed questions in order to create group discussion. The results revealed a range of perceived barriers to help-seeking that could be considered unique to rural settings. However, adolescents also expressed positive attitudes and identified a range of professional help sources available to them. The findings support recent moves towards providing school-based mental health services to young people in rural areas.