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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(4), 3741-3755; doi:10.3390/ijerph120403741

When Self-Reliance Is Not Safe: Associations between Reduced Help-Seeking and Subsequent Mental Health Symptoms in Suicidal Adolescents

Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Danuta Wasserman, Vladimir Carli and Gergo Hadlaczky
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 26 March 2015 / Published: 1 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention among Youth)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [721 KB, uploaded 1 April 2015]

Abstract

The majority of suicidal adolescents have no contact with mental health services, and reduced help-seeking in this population further lessens the likelihood of accessing treatment. A commonly-reported reason for not seeking help is youths’ perception that they should solve problems on their own. In this study, we explore associations between extreme self-reliance behavior (i.e., solving problems on your own all of the time), help-seeking behavior, and mental health symptoms in a community sample of adolescents. Approximately 2150 adolescents, across six schools, participated in a school-based suicide prevention screening program, and a subset of at-risk youth completed a follow-up interview two years later. Extreme self-reliance was associated with reduced help-seeking, clinically-significant depressive symptoms, and serious suicidal ideation at the baseline screening. Furthermore, in a subset of youth identified as at-risk at the baseline screening, extreme self-reliance predicted level of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms two years later even after controlling for baseline symptoms. Given these findings, attitudes that reinforce extreme self-reliance behavior may be an important target for youth suicide prevention programs. Reducing extreme self-reliance in youth with suicidality may increase their likelihood of appropriate help-seeking and concomitant reductions in symptoms. View Full-Text
Keywords: help-seeking; self-reliance; adolescents; suicide; depression help-seeking; self-reliance; adolescents; suicide; depression
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Labouliere, C.D.; Kleinman, M.; Gould, M.S. When Self-Reliance Is Not Safe: Associations between Reduced Help-Seeking and Subsequent Mental Health Symptoms in Suicidal Adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 3741-3755.

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