Bypassing the waitlist: examining barriers and facilitators of help-line utilization among college students with depression symptoms. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: A large number of U.S. college students suffer from depression symptoms, yet existing resources cannot match the demand. AIMS: This study identified the psychological determinants of utilizing a help-line and examined potential barriers in order to inform effective help-line promotion. PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred and six undergraduate students (18-29 years) completed a survey at a large Southern United States university between January and May 2018. METHODS: The survey assessed depression symptoms (PHQ9), whether students were aware of the help-line they had access to, stigma beliefs about depression/suicide, stigma of seeking help (SSOSH), predictors of intention to utilize the help-line (RAT) and behavioral approach and avoidance motivation (BIS/BAS). RESULTS: Students showed mild symptoms of depression (M=6.60, SD=5.13) and knew about the help-line (74.8%), but expressed low intentions to use it (M=1.5, SD=0.97; 7-pt scale). Depression symptoms influenced the strength of association between determinants and intentions to use a help-line (=0.25, p<0.001). Participants with depression symptoms were also more likely to endorse adverse beliefs about depression/suicide (=0.11, p=0.025). CONCLUSION: Help-lines should be promoted by activating and reinforcing positive outcome expectations. Health campaigns should also address adverse beliefs in this population.

published proceedings

  • J Ment Health

author list (cited authors)

  • Lueck, J. A., & Poe, M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Lueck, Jennifer A||Poe, Madison

publication date

  • January 2021