Australasian Journal on Ageing
School of Arts and Humanities / Kurongkurl Katitjin
Objective: Rates of help-seeking for mental health problems among older adults are low and initiatives to increase help-seeking in older populations are limited. To our knowledge, no interventions have aimed to promote help-seeking among older adults by tapping internal motivations to seek help. In this paper, we describe the development of a theory-based intervention designed to promote mental health help-seeking among older adults in Australia, using an internal motivation paradigm. Methods: The intervention was co-designed through a consultative process with nine key stakeholders who represented five main groups: primary health-care providers, mental health professionals, health-care executives, community organisations and consumers. Development was an iterative process, based on best practice guidelines. Nineteen older adults (≥65 years) provided feedback on the acceptability of the intervention. Results: The intervention consisted of a help-seeking brochure with behaviour change messages based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Messages targeted older adults' attitudes towards help-seeking, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and barriers to seeking help. Most participants (74%) responded with agree/strongly agree to 10 items measuring the acceptability of the intervention, indicating the intervention is relevant, clear, appropriate and appealing. Conclusions: The present intervention appears to be an acceptable way to promote help-seeking for mental health problems among older adults. A larger, robust trial is warranted to determine the effectiveness of the intervention in improving help-seeking attitudes, intentions and behaviour. The intervention has the potential to increase older adults' engagement with mental health support and improve health outcomes in this population.
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