More people than ever willing to talk about mental health problems

A new survey reveals that more people than ever are willing to openly disclose having mental health problems.

The findings, which come from researchers at the University of Melbourne, suggest that educational campaigns and growing acceptance about mental health issues are creating a more tolerant culture when it comes to these types of issues.

"We know that people are better at recognizing the symptoms...than they used to be," said study author Dr. Nicola Reavley, from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. "It is also possible that there is less stigma around disclosure, although we still have a lot of work to do in that area."

Growing awareness, better interventions

Dr. Reavley conducted a national survey of mental health literacy and compared the results with previous surveys that were carried out since 1995.

In 2011, 71 percent of people said they knew someone with mental health problems, while in 1995, only 45 percent claimed to know someone struggling with a condition like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

The survey also found that females are increasingly more likely to experience depression, and that the country in which a woman lives can influence how open she might be about these issues.

Anti-stigma campaigns needed

The researchers hope the findings can contribute to better anti-stigma interventions and early treatment policies that will break down barriers to seeking professional help.

"This new information helps us to understand how things can change in the population and the impact of campaigns to reduce the stigma of mental health problems," Dr. Reavley said.

Source: University of Melbourne

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