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Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental

versão impressa ISSN 1647-2160


ROSA, Amorim; LOUREIRO, Luís  e  SEQUEIRA, Carlos. Mental health literacy in adolescents: An exploratory study. Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental [online]. 2014, n.spe1, pp.125-132. ISSN 1647-2160.

BACKGROUND: The low level of Mental Health Literacy is crucial to the lack of help-seeking behaviors during adolescence, affecting the development and increasing the risk of recurrence of psychiatric disorders. AIM: To explore adolescent’s knowledge of three common mental health problems, depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse as well as the types of actions and importance given to professional help, focusing in recognition and help-seeking behaviors. METHODS: We conduct three focus group with a total of 23 participants recruited from three public secondary schools. Interviews were transcribed and subjected to qualitative content analysis with the program Nvivo9. RESULTS: Adolescents show difficulties to recognize mental disorders and often use inapropriate labels; devalue professional help and show preference for informal help as friends and family. These factors, plus the stigma, concerns of confidentiality and trust in health professionals are the major barriers to accessing professional help. Previous positive experiences and social suport were identified as key facilitators of help-seeking. CONCLUSIONS: Findings show the need to create programs to promote mental health literacy, increasing knowledge about the symptoms themselves and understanding of concepts related to mental health and minimizing the embarrassment associated with stigma and other barriers in seeking help.

Palavras-chave : Literacy; Mental health; adolescent.

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