Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Craig Harms

Abstract

The provision of mental health services using telephones, the Internet, and mobile phones (e-help), has been widely recommended as part of a solution to closing the gap between high prevalence of mental illness and low rates of service uptake. However, little is known about how potential users of these services view them. To address this gap, three focus groups (N = 17, age 17 - 69 years) were conducted to explore general community perspectives on using e-help. Interpretative phenomenological analysis identified three themes with related subthemes: (1) awareness; (2) trust and feeling safe when seeking and using e-help; (3) it depends on the person really: e-help issues. This study found that many factors that may contribute to non-help-seeking for traditional forms of mental health services were also potential barriers to using e-help. The findings were integrated into a model of the help-seeking process. This model was discussed with relation to both e-help and general help-seeking for mental health concerns. Findings suggest that service developers and policy planners need to take into consideration people's preferences for help and comfort with mode of communication. It was concluded that in order for e-help to fulfil its promise, it will need to overcome some of the same barriers that face more traditional modes of service delivery.

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