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Psychosocial Intervention

On-line version ISSN 2173-4712Print version ISSN 1132-0559

Abstract

LYNNE ARMSTRONG, Laura  and  YOUNG, Kaitlyn. Mind the gap: person-centred delivery of mental health information to post-secondary students. Psychosocial Intervention [online]. 2015, vol.24, n.2, pp.83-87. ISSN 2173-4712.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psi.2015.05.002.

Mental illnesses are rapidly escalating on university and college campuses. It is well known that post-secondary institutions are not doing enough to address mental health concerns: this represents a significant gap in our attempts to meet the mental health needs of young people. Deficits in mental health knowledge are now proposed as a major contributing factor to both stigma and low service access, but little research has explored this issue. There is also little research to date concerning what young people want to know about mental health and how best to disseminate mental health knowledge. Without such information, knowledge may not be shared in a person-centred, meaningful manner that youth will use. We explored these issues in the present study. First year postsecondary students (N = 271; n = 183 females; n = 85 males; n = 3 other) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada participated in the online survey. Almost half of the post-secondary youth participants, particularly males, had difficulty recognizing common mental illnesses, such as anxiety, eating disorders, and psychosis. Youth held inaccurate beliefs and stigma, as well as attitudes not in favour of help-seeking. They primarily wanted to know about symptoms of mental illnesses as well as how to cope with stress. Post-secondary students wanted to learn about mental health issues through public presentations, the Internet, and media. The present research suggests the need for an awareness and acknowledgement among policy-makers of first year post-secondary students' knowledge gaps and youth-appropriate knowledge sharing. Assessing mental health knowledge, what post-secondary students want to know about mental health, and knowledge transfer preferences could aid in the development of a framework to address the significant gap in the mental health needs of post-secondary students in a personcentred manner.

Keywords : Post-secondary students; Knowledge translation.

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