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Review: limited evidence suggests mental health literacy interventions may improve help-seeking attitudes for depression, anxiety and general psychological distress

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Question: How effective are interventions promoting help-seeking for depression, anxiety and general psychological distress?

Outcomes: Help-seeking attitudes, intentions and behaviour. Only help-seeking from professional sources (eg, general practitioner or mental health professional) was included.


Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: PubMed, PsycInfo and the Cochrane database were searched in November 2011. Additional studies were identified through hand searching the reference lists of key papers identified in the search.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of at least one intervention targeting help-seeking for depression or anxiety or general psychological distress were included. Studies had to contain extractable data on help-seeking attitudes, intentions or behaviour. Meta-analysis was not carried out due to differing outcome measures used by the studies. Between-group effect sizes (Cohen's d) were calculated for the individual studies post-treatment and at follow-up. Study quality was assessed using the nine-item Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) risk of bias tool (score range 0–9, higher score indicating lower risk of bias). …

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  • Sources of funding: Australian Institute of Sport.


  • Competing interests None.