Self-reported barriers to professional help seeking among college students at elevated risk for suicide

J Am Coll Health. 2013;61(7):398-406. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.820731.

Abstract

Objectives: This study sought to describe self-reported barriers to professional help seeking among college students who are at elevated suicide risk and determine if these barriers vary by demographic and clinical characteristics.

Participants: Participants were 165 non-treatment seekers recruited as part of a Web-based treatment linkage intervention for college students at elevated suicide risk (from September 2010 through December 2011).

Methods: Data were collected using Web-based questionnaires. Two coders coded students' responses to an open-ended question about reasons for not seeking professional help.

Results: The most commonly reported barriers included perception that treatment is not needed (66%), lack of time (26.8%), and preference for self-management (18%). Stigma was mentioned by only 12% of students. There were notable differences based on gender, race, and severity of depression and alcohol abuse.

Conclusions: Efforts aimed at reaching students at elevated risk for suicidal behavior should be particularly sensitive to these commonly described barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities