Seeking help for mental illness: A qualitative study among Greek-Australians and Anglo-Australians

Nektarios A. Alexi, Kathleen A. Moore

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    Despite the high prevalence of mental illness, research indicates that many people who experience mental illness do not access help and therefore go unnecessarily without treatment. It was the aim in this study to investigate reasons why people do not seek help for mental illness and to determine if there were any cultural differences between Anglo-Australians and the large Greek-Australian population. Nine Greek-Australians (six males) (age M = 29.84 years, SD = 8.75) and eight Anglo-Australians (one male) (age M = 34.93 years, SD = 14.10) participated in interviews focused on their attitudes towards, and willingness to seek help for, mental illness. Results revealed participants had a poor understanding of mental illness per se, and in terms of help seeking suggested similar factors to those reported in the literature. Participants indicated embarrassment is associated with mental illness despite ongoing media campaigns and awareness-raising concerning mental illness. While both groups acknowledged that professional help may be useful they stressed the importance of a trusting and confidential relationship with the therapist. Anglo-Australians sampled were somewhat more willing to utilise professional help, while the Greek-Australian participants were more likely, in the first instance, to seek-out informal support such as from a priest.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalHellenic Journal of Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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