An internet survey of emotional health, treatment seeking and barriers to accessing mental health treatment among Chinese-speaking international students in Australia

Sharon Huixian Lu, Blake Farran Dear, Luke Johnston, Bethany May Wootton, Nickolai Titov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The present internet survey examined the demographic characteristics of Chinese-speaking international students in Australia, psychological distress levels as measured by the Kessler-10 (K-10) Item scale, help-seeking history and preferences, as well as treatment barriers. Of the 144 respondents, 54% reported high psychological distress (mean K-10 score = 23.96; SD = 9.03). However, only 9% of those who were highly distressed reported they had sought mental health services in the past year. While the majority preferred help from informal social networks, they tended to favour mental health services over traditional culture-specific forms of help. Common barriers to accessing mental health services reported by respondents with high psychological distress included costs or transportation concerns, limited knowledge of available services, time constraints, the perception that symptoms were not severe enough to warrant treatment, language difficulties and lack of knowledge of symptoms of psychological distress. Although the majority preferred face-to-face treatments over internet treatments, a considerable percentage of respondents were willing to try either treatment modality. Chinese-speaking international students are a high risk group for developing psychological distress, yet they tend to underuse mental health services. Education about the effectiveness of face-to-face and online treatments may increase treatment seeking by this population.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-108
    Number of pages13
    JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
    Volume27
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Chinese international tertiary students
    • barriers
    • help-seeking preferences
    • internet treatments
    • mental health service use
    • psychological distress

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