Jamia Milanzi, Marjory Kabinga Makukula, Kestone Lyambai, Clement John Kabungo, Royda Matipa, Gilbert Changwe


Increasing rates of mental health problems among students and the reluctance of students to seek help in times of crisis are of great concern. This study aimed at determining the mental health seeking intentions and the barriers to mental health seeking intentions among students at Mulungushi University. An analytical cross-sectional quantitative design was used as a research design. A self-administered questionnaire adapted from 3 validated tools namely; General Help-Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ), Perception of Stigmatization of Others for Seeking Help Scale (PSOSH) and Barriers to Access Care Evaluation (BACE-3) was used to collect data. 137 nursing and pharmacy students were randomly selected after meeting the inclusion criteria. SPSS version 23 and binary logistic regression were used for data analysis. The results of the study showed that mental health seeking intentions were weak, (69%) of students indicated that they were unlikely to seek help. Further, university sources of help were the least preferred by students, (60 %) of students indicated that they were unlikely to seek help from university-based sources. The study also showed that stigma was associated with poor mental health seeking intentions (OR=3.190, CI=0.8-11.339, P=0.041), students who were perceiving stigma were 3.19 times less likely to seek help than those who were not perceiving stigma. Although barriers to care showed no significant effect at a 5% level of significance, the odds showed that those who perceived barriers to access care were 1.41 less likely to seek help compared to those who were not perceiving barriers to access care. (OR=1.418, CI=0.623-3.230, P=0.404). The study also revealed that there was an association between gender and mental health seeking intentions. (OR=0.90, CI=0.3826-2.137, P=0.003), females showed stronger intentions to seek help seeking than males. Based on these findings, the study recommends that efforts should be channeled towards overcoming stigma and site-specific barriers to access care which are contributing to poor mental health seeking intentions among students. Further, special consideration must be placed on males through these interventions since they showed lower health seeking intentions than females.


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