15:05 PM

Dr. Mazade's Question of the Week: Help-seeking

By Marc Mazade, M.D.

The COVID pandemic has caused a tremendous amount of personal suffering for people worldwide. April, Mei, and June are worried about their colleague, Chris, who has had a lot going on over the last couple of years. 

He called in sick today, which is unusual. He doesn’t talk about personal issues or concerns much at work, not because he is afraid to confide in his dear friends, but he believes that his work and home lives should stay separate. Chris usually comes to work with a pleasant attitude, is a hard worker, and always helps take up the slack. 

Since the COVID pandemic began, work assignments have been heavy and he’s been much less conversational. He was unable to see his elderly father face-to-face for almost a year, and now his father’s dementia has progressed a great deal. He has children who were home schooling for a long time and during that time they developed behaviors that would cause any parent anxiety. His oldest daughter’s wedding plans were side-lined by the pandemic. She is still angry and not very pleasant company. The friends don’t know if he would be receptive to a recommendation to talk to a mental health professional, but they have decided that they are going to promote that help-seeking for is important, normal, healthy, and appropriate behavior.

1.       Which of the following are true:

a.     The World Health Organization (WHO) characterizes depression as the single largest contributor to global disability, with anxiety being the sixth largest contributor.

b.     With the growing societal acceptance that psychological and emotional health is important to overall wellness, seeking help for mental health problems would seem to be easier than ever. However, avoidance of help-seeking among people needing mental health services continues to be a serious and widespread international problem.

c.     Age, gender, and ethnicity are all factors that influence help-seeking among people experiencing mental health and emotional difficulties.

d.     Men, in particular, tend to underutilize employee assistance programs.

e.     All of the above are true.

2.       Key barrier themes to help-seeking among people with mental health problems include:

a.     Perceived and self-stigmatizing attitudes around mental illness

b.     Concerns about confidentiality and trust

c.     Difficulty identifying the symptoms of mental illness

d.     Concern about provider characteristics

e.     Self-reliance or not wanting help

f.      Lack of knowledge about availability and benefits of mental health services

g.     Fear or stress about the act of help-seeking

h.     Concern that prioritizing mental health visits will delay working on tasks

i.      Anxiety about expressing emotion

j.      Concerns regarding not want to burden another person

k.     Preference for other sources of help like family members and peers

l.      Worry about effect on career and perception of ability to lead

m.   Not recognizing the need for help or not having the skills to cope

n.     All of the above.

Answers: For questions one and two: All are true.

 We have resources in place that are just a phone call away, which you can access to help others who may be struggling. 

Resources For You



Gulliver, A., Griffiths, K.M., & Christensen, H. (2010). Perceived barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking in young people: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry,10 (113). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-10-113.

Matthews, L.R., Gerald J., Jessup, G.M. (2021). Exploring men’s use of mental health support offered by an Australian Employee Assistance Program (EAP): perspectives from a focus-group study with males working in blue- and white-collar industries. International Journal of Mental Health Systems 15(1), 1–17. DOI 10.1186/s13033-021-00489-5.

World Health Organization. (2017). Depression and other common mental disorders: Global health estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/health-topics/health-equity#tab=tab_1