Help-seeking is a multi-dimensional process. Individual, family and social factors all may be relevant in determining if and when help is sought. This study explored the possible factors affecting the help-seeking behaviour of individuals with mental health problems and their first contact witha mental health professional. Ιndividuals, who sought help from the Community Mental Health Centre (CMHC) during 2003–2007, completed a questionnaire and information was obtained on a number of variables including demographic characteristics. Women, compared to men, seek help from the CMHC at a greater frequency. Individuals with psychotic symptoms don’t seek help initially from a CMHC and they used to visit other mental health services. The percentage of individuals diagnosed with psychosis, emotional and anxiety disorders, seeking help for the first time in their lives 12 months after the onset of psychopathology, was high. Delays in initiating treatment are often prolonged and the duration of untreated disorder is associated with substantial functional decline and poorer quality of life. Reduction of these delays will require clearer understanding of the contributing factors.

Key words: Help-seeking, demographic characteristics, variables, community psychiatry

Α. Zartaloudi, M. Madianos (page 126) - Full article (Greek)