Predicting Intentions to Seek Help from Professional Mental Health Services Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: This study investigates the factors related to the intention to seek professional help for psychological problems utilising Ajzen and Fishbein's theory of reasoned action [1,2]. Many of the variables identified in previous studies can be subsumed within this theory, which emphasises the importance of the subjective point of view of the individual. Method: One hundred and forty-two patients waiting for consultations at a community based general practice completed a questionnaire designed to assess the components of this theory as they relate to seeking help from mental health professionals. Results: The results of this study supported the prediction of the intention to seek help from a mental health professional from the variables ‘attitude toward the behaviour’ and ‘subjective norm’. However, personal attitudes toward seeking help were found to be more important than the approval or disapproval of significant others in predicting help-seeking intentions. Conclusions: Overall, the findings indicate that a significant factor influencing people's decisions to utilise professional mental health services in Australia may be the belief that mental health professionals are not actually able to provide a great deal of help or support for people's difficulties.

publication date

  • August 1997