Promoting help-seeking for mental health problems among older adults: Co-design and feasibility testing of a theory-based, behaviour-change intervention
5th Annual Integrative Psychiatry Conference
School of Arts and Humanities / Kurongkurl Katitjin
Background and objectives: Rates of engagement with mental health-related services among older adults are low, and initiatives to increase help-seeking in older populations are limited. This study aimed to develop and test an intervention designed to promote mental health help-seeking among older adults. Methods: Nine key stakeholders were recruited to inform the design and implementation of the intervention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate stakeholders’ views and recommendations. To test the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, 241 adults ≥65 years were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or control materials. Results were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: The final intervention consisted of a brochure with behaviour-change messages based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The intervention addressed help-seeking attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, and barriers to help-seeking. Control participants received a brochure with common public health messages. 147 participants completed the pilot test (intervention group n = 68, control group n = 79, retention rate = 61%). Participants most frequently responded with agree/strongly agree to 10 feasibility and acceptability criteria, supporting the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. Discussion: The intervention is a promising approach to promote mental health help-seeking among older adults. The intervention is intended for use in primary health care and health promotion, to encourage older adults to engage early with mental health-related services. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the intervention in improving help-seeking behaviour. Fit with knowledge translation: The intervention was designed in consultation with knowledge users, including health care professionals, health care executives, representatives from community organisations, and consumers. The stakeholder group was involved in the development phase of this study, which helped to enhance the relevance of the intervention and enabled the identification of problems and solutions prior to implementation.