The effects of need for autonomy and preference for seeking help from informal sources on emerging adults' intentions to access mental health services for common mental disorders and suicidal thoughts.

Coralie Wilson, Debra Rickwood, John Bushnell, Peter Caputi, Susan Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging or early adulthood is the life stage spanning 18–25 years of age. In Australia, anxiety and affective disorders (often classifi ed as ‘common mental disorders’) are prevalent in this age group and suicide is also a concern. Professional mental health care can reduce the long-term impact of these mental health problems and protect against the development of severe forms of these disorders. However, up to three-quarters of young people with mental health needs do not seek professional help for their condition. This study aimed to examine the extent to which belief in the need for autonomy and intentions to seek help from informal help-sources act as barriers or facilitators to seeking help from a mental health service for symptoms of a common mental disorder and suicidal thoughts, in a sample of 641 emerging adults aged 18–25 years. For common mental disorders and suicidal thoughts, results reveal that the family of origin has an important influence on mental health service access among emerging adults, but also, that the growing independence and autonomy of emerging adults needs to be accommodated if mental health treatment services are to be accessible to this important age group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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