Capturing the Attitudes of Adolescent Males' Towards Computerised Mental Health Help-Seeking

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Abstract

Objective

Adolescent males are often reluctant to seek help for mental health problems. Computerised psychological treatment may be a more appealing method of psychological intervention for this population because it minimises many of the barriers to traditional treatment. However, it is not clear if current computerised mental health treatment programs both attract and engage adolescent males with anxiety disorders. A qualitative methodology was utilised to investigate adolescent males' attitudes to computerised mental health intervention generally and more specifically, computerised anxiety treatment programs.

Method

The views of 29 adolescent males, both with and without experience of clinical anxiety symptoms, were elicited using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using content analysis.

Results

The major themes identified related to computerised help-seeking involving “risk,” “effort” and “the need for a human connection.”

Conclusion

The results of the study suggest that a number of barriers exist in relation to adolescent males utilising computerised mental health interventions, such as unfamiliarity with this form of help, perceived control over decision-making, effort involved and concerns around confidentiality. However, the findings also suggest that an increased awareness of computerised mental health help-seeking, facilitated through schools, parents or social media, also has the potential to increase formal help-seeking in this population.

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