New report highlights the importance of improving mental health literacy

Despite the high prevalence of mental illness, and high rates of suicide among young Australians, more than half (54%) of all people with mental health issues do not seek help.

New report highlights the importance of improving mental health literacy
Image Credit: Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS)

A new research report by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) research team, in collaboration with the Australian Catholic University (ACU), found that a better understanding of mental health leads to better outcomes for individuals and the whole community.

The RFDS today published their “National mental health literacy survey: Final report”. As a critical provider of mental health services in rural and remote Australia, the research sought to comprehensively understand the mental health literacy of the rural and remote communities it serves, to better inform prevention, early intervention, education and ongoing treatment for mental disorders,.  

Improving mental health literacy has been shown to promote positive help-seeking attitudes and is significantly positively correlated with help-seeking behavior. Early help-seeking for mental disorders is important and has been shown to promote early intervention and treatment, which results in improved long-term outcomes.  

The RFDS collaborated with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) to develop and distribute an online MHL survey, which 2,422 Australians were involved in, from across Australia.

This research helped to identify the Australians most likely to benefit from mental health literacy interventions. Population groups including men, Australians aged 60 years or older, Indigenous Australians, people without a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education and people who have not previously been diagnosed with a mental disorder can all benefit.  

Each year, one in five Australians experiences metal health issues, and almost half of all Australians will experience mental health issues at some point during their lifetime. Although there may be several barriers to help-seeking – our research highlights the important role that mental health literacy plays, and we will be using this research to build on our mental health initiatives across the country.”

Frank Quinlan, RFDS Federation Executive Director


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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