Parental Support, Beliefs about Mental Illness, and Mental Help-Seeking among Young Adults in Saudi Arabia

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 4;17(15):5615. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17155615.


Mental illness is not uncommon among young adults, but negative attitudes towards mental disorders and lack of parental support might be associated with hesitancy in seeking professional help. This study aimed to examine the relationships of parental support, beliefs about mental illness, and mental help-seeking among young adults in Saudi Arabia. This quantitative cross-sectional study included a convenience sample of 236 young adults (ages 18-25) with the majority of the total (86.4%) being female. Data were collected via three self-administered questionnaires: The Perceived Parental Support Scale, Beliefs toward Mental Illness scale, and Mental Help Seeking Attitude Scale. Results indicated that the participants had a moderately negative attitude toward mental illness, a moderately positive attitude toward parental support, and a highly positive attitude toward mental help-seeking. No significant relationships were found among the study variables. The study highlights that despite young adults' positive attitude toward mental help-seeking and parental support, they have negative views toward people with mental illnesses. Educational programs in schools and media are needed to improve attitudes and enhance readiness to interact with people with mental illness.

Keywords: beliefs; cross-sectional; mental help-seeking; mental illness; parental support; young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult