• Exploring the relationship between personal and perceived public attitudes of mental health difficulties and professional help seeking: Does self-compassion play a role?

      Evans, Gemma; Jones, Rebecca (University of Chester, 2017-11)
      Previous literature suggests that there is a relationship between mental health stigma and help seeking attitudes. There are however mixed results when determining the effects of specific elements of stigma: personal stigma and perceived public stigma. There is also limited research into the effects of self-compassion on this relationship, with initial studies suggesting increased self-compassion has a positive impact on the reduction of stigma. The current survey based study of 40 students examined the relationship between personal and perceived public attitudes of mental health difficulties and professional help seeking. The study also examined the role of self-compassion in this relationship. The findings revealed a significant relationship between perceived family and community views of mental health and help seeking. No correlation was found between personal attitudes towards mental health and help seeking. Self-compassion was significantly correlated with personal attitudes towards mental health but not help seeking. Findings indicate that perceived public stigma is an important barrier towards mental health help seeking attitudes and should be the focus of future interventions. Results also suggest that an increased level of self-compassion is associated with more positive personal attitudes towards mental health, indicating that compassion-based therapy is an important and promising tool for reducing stigma and its impacts.