Improving mental health literacy as a strategy to facilitate early intervention for mental disorders

Med J Aust. 2007 Oct 1;187(S7):S26-30. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01332.x.


Good mental health literacy in young people and their key helpers may lead to better outcomes for those with mental disorders, either by facilitating early help-seeking by young people themselves, or by helping adults to identify early signs of mental disorders and seek help on their behalf. Few interventions to improve mental health literacy of young people and their helpers have been evaluated, and even fewer have been well evaluated. There are four categories of interventions to improve mental health literacy: whole-of-community campaigns; community campaigns aimed at a youth audience; school-based interventions teaching help-seeking skills, mental health literacy, or resilience; and programs training individuals to better intervene in a mental health crisis. The effectiveness of future interventions could be enhanced by using specific health promotion models to guide their development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Community Mental Health Services
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Health*