Mental health attitudes and beliefs in a community sample on the Central Coast in Australia

barriers to help seeking

Dominiek Coates*, Christine Saleeba, Deborah Howe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


There continues to be call for greater community awareness actions and strategies to reduce stigma and enhance mental health literacy nationally and internationally. To identify local barriers to help-seeking and perceptions around stigma, we developed a ‘mental health attitudes and beliefs’ survey which was administered at a range of community events on the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia. The aim was for the results of this survey to inform the development of strategies that enhance local help-seeking behaviours that are sensitive to the role of age, gender and Indigenous status. People who approached our Mental Health Information stall were invited to complete the survey and 282 individuals completed the survey. The data was analysed descriptively with a focus on comparing subgroups based on age, gender, Indigenous status, and previous service access or experience of mental illness. Cost, stigma and mental health literacy were found to be prominent barriers to help-seeking for the overall cohort; however, the ways in which or extent to which these barriers impact on help seeking varied between subgroups. A discussion of these differences and their implications for practice is the focus of this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-486
Number of pages11
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


  • Gender in mental health service access
  • Help seeking
  • Mental health literacy
  • Mental health stigma
  • Service barriers
  • Youth mental health

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