Mental Health Literacy: Why we need to operationalize culture to promote help seeking.
MHL is defined as the knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention, and is operationalized in this study as comprised of three components: the ability to recognize western defined symptom patterns (MH accuracy); holding the intention to seek help from professional sources (Help Seeking Intention); and actual Service Use. MHL public education campaigns aim to de-stigmatize mental illness by teaching symptoms and presenting available treatments. However, anthropological approaches to mental health and help seeking would contend that the culture affects the interpretations or symptom type, causal explanations, and the significance of these for help seeking. This talk will give examples from my research, and facilitate discussion of the implications of these on education and mental health care.