Determinants of intentions to seek formal mental health help among Palestinian adolescents in Israel

Fareeda Abo-Rass, Ora Nakash, Bizu Gelaye, Anwar Khatib, Hanan AboJabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Mental health challenges are widespread among adolescents undergoing significant physical, emotional, social, and academic changes. However, rates of formal help-seeking remain low, particularly among those from ethnic minorities. Aims: This study investigated the determinants of intentions to seek formal mental health help among Palestinian adolescents in Israel, focusing on mental health literacy (MHL) and trust in formal sources of information. Methods: A total of 178 adolescents (Mage = 16.24 ± 1.24 years, 61.8% female) completed measures assessing intention for formal help-seeking, psychological distress, MHL, trust in formal sources of information, sociodemographic, and clinical characteristics. Results: Findings revealed low levels of intention to seek formal help and psychological distress, alongside average or above-average levels on all MHL dimensions and trust in formal sources for information. Our analysis identified socioeconomic status (β =.17, p <.05), psychological distress (β =.18, p <.05), trust in formal sources of information (β =.28, p <.001), and two MHL dimensions: knowledge of where to seek information (β =.25, p <.01) and attitudes that promote recognition or appropriate help-seeking behavior (β =.16, p <.05) – as the main determinants of intention for formal help-seeking. Conclusions: This study underscores the critical role of trust in formal sources of information and MHL in seeking formal help among adolescents from ethnic minorities. Interventions aiming to improve access to mental health-related information, address and enhance attitudes, and foster trust in formal professionals and institutions may contribute to an increased tendency for formal mental health help-seeking among this population and others.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Early online date5 Feb 2024
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 5 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Arabs
  • formal help-seeking
  • Israel
  • mental health literacy
  • minorities
  • Palestinians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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