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Prevalence of psychological distress in university students: Implications for service delivery

Stallman, Helen M. (2008) Prevalence of psychological distress in university students: Implications for service delivery. Australian Family Physician, 37(8), pp. 673-677.

Abstract

Background Mental health problems are one of the leading causes of disability in Australia. General practitioners are often the first and only point of service for people suffering mental health problems, while many do not access services at all. University students can face numerous stressors in addition to academic demands that can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health problems. Objective The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of psychological symptoms in students who were patients at a university health service to enable appropriate planning of services to meet the needs of students. Methods Participants were 384 students attending a university health service in urban Queensland over a period of 4 weeks during semester. At their first visit, patients completed the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, a measure of psychological distress. Results Results showed there were significantly more patients experiencing high levels of distress compared with the general population and, consistent with the general population, almost two-thirds had not sought assistance for this distress. Increased distress was associated with increased disability among students. Discussion Within a university setting, co-location of specialist mental health services can promote a team approach to mental health care, with GPs, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists working together to increase the availability of care to students in need. The recent introduction of Medicare items for psychological treatment also facilitates greater access to clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals.

Impact and interest:

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24 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 15462
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: student mental health, unversity students, general practice, primary care
ISSN: ISBN: 0300-8495
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Primary Health Care (111717)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Mental Health (111714)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:46

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