Assessing Perceptions of Mental Health Literacy Among Undergraduate McMaster Students
Keywords:Mental health, Undergraduate students, McMaster University, Mental health literacy, Mental health knowledge, Faculty specific
The presence of stigma and lack of knowledge surrounding mental health is prevalent among university students but has not been researched in depth among the academic community. The present study examines perceptions of mental health literacy among undergraduate students at McMaster University to understand the impact of mental health literacy on attitudes towards seeking help for mental health problems and whether these attitudes differ by faculty. An anonymous, online survey was administered to understand these topics through questions about students’ perceptions of mental health literacy and levels of mental health care provided by professors and on-campus wellness services. 70 undergraduate students completed the survey and we analyzed the quantitative data against the theoretical frameworks of symbolic interactionism and social constructionism to assess how personal interactions and social contexts impact attitudes towards mental health. The results suggested discrepancies in perceptions of mental health literacy and available care between faculties; however, similar perceptions of stigma were reported by all respondents. It was also found that attitudes towards mental health care services on campus were influenced by levels of mental health literacy. This research provides a foundation for future studies on faculty-specific attitudes towards mental health and provides insight into productive changes that can be made by McMaster University to improve help-seeking attitudes among undergraduate students.