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. 2010 Mar;7(1):27-35.

Mental Health Literacy Towards Depression Among Non-Medical Students at a Malaysian University

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Free PMC article

Mental Health Literacy Towards Depression Among Non-Medical Students at a Malaysian University

Tahir M Khan et al. Ment Health Fam Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background The aim of the present study was to evaluate the knowledge and perception of depression among students of University Sains Malaysia (USM), in Penang, Peninsular Malaysia.Method Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a pre-validated 21-item questionnaire among students at USM.Results A total of 500 respondents participated in the survey comprising 24.6% (n=123) males and 75.4% (n=377) females. Half (50.0%, n=250) were Malays, followed by Chinese (44.0%, n=220) and Indians (6.0%, n=30). Whilst exploring the respondents' knowledge of the symptoms of depression, it was found that Chinese females had a comparatively better knowledge (P=0.058) of the symptoms of depression in comparison with Malays and Indians. Overall, social issues were attributed as the possible cause of depression. A cursory knowledge level was observed regarding medication for depression. Female students were more inclined towards the use of alternative and traditional medicines. However, with regard to seeking professional help, consultation with a psychiatrist was preferred by the majority.Conclusion Overall, a moderate level of knowledge about the symptoms of depression and a cursory knowledge of its therapy were observed. Those with personal experience of depression had better knowledge of the symptoms and therapy. Alternative treatments and traditional medicines were also favoured. There is a risk that this may affect the ability of Malaysian youths to seek evidence-based mental health care.

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