Changes in mental health literacy about depression: South Australia, 1998 to 2004

Robert D. Goldney, Laura J. Fischer, Eleonora Dal Grande, Anne Taylor

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Objective: To identify changes in mental health literacy in regard to depression between 1998 and 2004. Design and setting: Face-to-face interviews with a random and representative sample of the South Australian population in 2004, compared with a similarly conducted survey in 1998 that used the same vignette, questions and methodology. Participants: 3015 randomly selected participants, aged 15 years and over. Main outcome measures: Responses to both open-ended and direct questions about symptoms and treatment options for depression. Results: The 3015 interviews conducted represented a response rate of 65.9%. Compared with 1998, in 2004 there was a significant increase in the proportion of people recognising depression in the vignette, acknowledging personal experience of depression, and perceiving professional assistance to be more helpful and less harmful. However, although more people nominated psychiatrists or psychologists as therapists of choice, the difference between 1998 and 2004 was not significant. Conclusions: There has been a significant increase in mental health literacy, at least as regards depression, in the South Australian community between 1998 and 2004. The lack of significant change in psychiatrists and/or psychologists being perceived as therapists of choice is of concern and suggests that community education about their expertise may be appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-137
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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