Aim: Seeking appropriate help for early signs and symptoms of psychological distress can reduce the long-term impact of many mental disorders. This article describes practice implications and new initiatives for promoting early access and help-seeking among young people.
Methods: Relevant help-seeking research is reviewed, and prominent help-seeking barriers are discussed.
Results: Prominent barriers for young people include: incomplete mental health and emotional literacy, beliefs about having little need for help versus having a need for autonomy, and the process of help-negation for different symptoms of psychological distress.
Conclusions: To improve early access to appropriate help and mental health services, barriers that can be reduced, and in particular, psychological distress symptoms that promote the help-negation process, must be reduced as soon as they can be. Strategies that can be used by clinicians, parents and others, including young people, to encourage appropriate help-seeking are provided. Examples of how these strategies are implemented in several innovative programs and approaches are discussed.