Seeking professional help for suicidal ideation: A comparison between Chinese and Australian university students

Jin Han, Philip J. Batterham, Alison L. Calear, Jennifer Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Chinese university students and research examining their professional help-seeking is limited. This study aims to investigate: (i) professional help-seeking intentions for suicidal ideation among Chinese university students, with comparison to Australian university students, (ii) relationships between suicide literacy, social support, suicide stigma, self-reliance and help-seeking intentions, and (iii) self-recognised barriers to help-seeking. Chinese (N=208) and Australian (N=128) university students were recruited to complete an online cross-sectional survey assessing their intentions to seek professional help if they experienced suicidal ideation. One-third of the surveyed Chinese and Australian students expressed reluctance to seek professional help. Self-reliance was endorsed by both countries’ university students as an important barrier. Suicide literacy, suicide stigma, and social support were not found to have a significant relationship with help-seeking intentions. The high costs of mental health services (Australian university students) and informal support from family and friends (Chinese university students) were identified as critical barriers to help seeking by participants. Results from this study suggest self-reliance is a potentially important
barrier to professional help-seeking, whereas, suicide literacy and suicide stigma may have limited influence on help-seeking intentions among student populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-814
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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