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NUS Study Finds Significant Correlation between Psychological Distress and Mental Health Literacy among International Students

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Muthana Al-Najjar
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NUS Study Finds Significant Correlation between Psychological Distress and Mental Health Literacy among International Students

A recent study conducted at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has revealed a significant correlation between psychological distress (PD), mental health literacy (MHL), and mental help-seeking intentions (MHSI) among international students. The study, conducted between May and July 2023, involved 281 participants who filled out self-report questionnaires. The study utilized the Mental Help Seeking Intention Scale (MHSIS), Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7), and the Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS) for data collection.

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Unveiling the Interplay

The study's findings indicated significant correlations between PD, MHL, and MHSI. MHL, specifically the knowledge of how to seek professional help and attitudes towards recognizing and seeking appropriate help, was found to mediate the association between PD and MHSI. Demographic variables such as gender, years spent in Singapore, and type of residence also influenced this relationship.

Depression and Anxiety among International Students

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Furthermore, the study highlighted the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms, detected in 19.57% and 20.28% of the participants, respectively. The researchers suggest that providing information about accessing professional services and promoting disorder recognition may bolster international students' psychological well-being and mental health care decisions.

Call for Enhanced Mental Health Literacy

The research underscores the importance of MHL in predicting help-seeking attitudes and behaviors, pointing to the need for interventions to enhance MHL among international students. By addressing these issues, universities can play a vital role in improving the mental health and well-being of their international students, ultimately leading to more successful academic experiences and outcomes.

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