Institute of Mental Health1
Lack of hope and being excessively reliant on informal sources of help would inevitably hinder help-seeking for formal and professional treatment resulting in delayed professional treatment and non-optimal health outcomes. The study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the online HOPE intervention on help-seeking intentions and attitudes among young adults 18 to 24 years old in Singapore.
The study adopted a parallel two groups randomized controlled trial with a pre, post and repeated, control group design. Participants were recruited from the university’s online platforms. Outcome measurements were (1) recognition of depression, (2) barriers of help-seeking, (3) help-seeking intentions (4) attitudes about interventions, help sources and medications and (5) participants’ perceptions about the intervention. Friedman’s test and Kruskal-Wallis test analyzed the data. Thematic analysis evaluated the findings for process evaluation.
There were no significant differences in the usage of the various labels to describe depression between both groups. At two months, control group was significantly more concerned about side effects of medications (U=3,042, p=0.004). No significant differences in all barriers of help–seeking between groups during were noted pre and post intervention. At post-intervention, the intervention group had greater acknowledgement of antidepressants (U=2,774.50, p<0.001) and antipsychotics (U=2,799, p=0.003). At follow–up, the intervention group had greater acknowledgement of antidepressants (U=3,030, p=0.007), tranquilizers (U=2,577, p<0.001) and antipsychotics (U=2,990.50, p=0.016). Thematic analysis revealed that the online delivery was well-paced and process was well-received.
The online HOPE intervention can potentially be used in the primary care to increase mental health literacy amongst young adults.