Preferred sources of help for mental health problems among Chilean adolescents: a descriptive study



Cecilia Olivari, Departamento de Psicología, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile; Centro de Investigación en Neuropsicología y Neurociencia Cognitiva, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile
Carlos Mellado, Escuela de Psicología, Universidad Santo Tomás, Talca, Chile
Rocío Casañas, Departamento de Investigación, Asociación Centre Higiene Mental Les Corts, Grup CHM Salut Mental, Barcelona, Spain
Nancy Espinosa-Díaz, Departamento de Psicología, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile
Jaime Fuster-Villaseca, Doctorado en Psicología, Universidad Católica del Maule, Talca, Chile


Background: A timely search for professional help regarding mental health issues in adolescents is critical in preventing severe disorders. However, adolescents generally tend not to seek help. This investigation aimed to study Chilean adolescents’ willingness to seek help in mental health issues by identifying their preferred help-seeking sources. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional-correlational study with 493 high school students between 14 and 19 years of age (mean ± standard deviation = 16.28 ± 1.29). The instruments we used were the general help-seeking questionnaire (vignette version), adapted and validated in Chile, and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Results: Data showed that adolescents are more willing to seek help from informal rather than from formal sources. We identified no sex differences in terms of willingness to seek help from formal sources. However, males were more willing to seek help from informal sources. Conclusions: Similar to other cultures, Chilean adolescents are more willing to seek help from informal sources regarding mental health problems.



Keywords: Help seeking. Mental health. Adolescents.