The Self-Help Maze

Many individuals with mental health care needs are not receiving adequate treatment and self-help services may be one way to address these unmet needs. Little is known about self-help treatment consumers and the characteristics which predict self-help treatment use; therefore, the primary objectives of a new study published in the journal Canadian Psychology was to examine service utilization and the determinants of self-help use behaviour in Canadians. Using data from a large, cross-sectional, nationally representative survey (N = 25,113), sociodemographics and previous treatment contact information were used to determine whether there are significant predictors of self-help use. Approximately 20% (n = 4,816) of surveyed individuals reported a need for help with their emotions, mental health, or use of alcohol/drugs, and many of these respondents reported that they have used 1 or more self-help treatment methods. The Internet was the most frequently used self-help method (25%), followed by self-help groups (8%), and telephone helplines (4%). Few respondents used more than 1 self-help method (0.2% to 3%). Logistic regressions indicated that sociodemographic predictors and previous treatment contact variables differentially predicted self-help treatment use. Over 56% of individuals with perceived mental health needs reported that they saw 1 or more health professionals about their concerns, and logistic regression analyses indicated that there were varying reasons related to previous treatment contact that predicted Internet-based self-help use. This research may lead to a better understanding of self-help consumers and it provides information that can be used for the design and implementation of self-help treatments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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