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Male secondary school student's attitudes towards using mental health services

  • Shane Burke (a1), Robert Kerr (a2) and Patrick McKeon (a3)


Objectives: The rate of suicide among young men is rising. However, young men are reluctant to use mental health services. In this study we explored young men's attitudes towards mental illness and mental health services, as well as their willingness to use these services.

Methods: Four focus groups were conducted in two Dublin schools. A total of 18 students participated in the study.

Results: Students held negative views towards mental health services, particularly in respect to psychiatric hospitals and medication. Students were not well informed about whom to contact if they had depression and were very conscious about the stigma of going to see a ‘professional’. Many students did not recognise depression as being a mental illness and could not differentiate between depression and feeling sad.

Conclusions: This study shows that a lack of knowledge and understanding about mental illness, combined with prejudice against mental health professionals and fear of stigma, are important barriers to access of mental health services for young men.


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