Help-seeking intentions in the U.S. population during the COVID-19 pandemic: Examining the role of COVID-19 financial hardship, suicide risk, and stigma
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The primary goal of this study was to increase understanding of help-seeking intentions in the U.S. population during the COVID-19 pandemic and to examine influencing factors such as COVID-19 financial hardship, suicide risk, and stigma in order to contribute to effective theory-based help-seeking and suicide prevention campaigns. In a representative sample of U.S. adults (N = 5,010), this research tested whether COVID-19 financial hardship was associated with higher levels of depression and suicidal ideation (supported), and whether the reasoned action framework could usefully predict help-seeking intentions in this context (supported). The reasoned action framework explained 36% of the variance in help-seeking intentions in the U.S. population and identified injunctive norm (social support) as primary determinant of intention. Neither suicidal ideation, COVID-19 financial hardship, or self-stigma of seeking help influenced determinants of help-seeking. Future research should test injunctive norm as causal predictor of help-seeking in the U.S. population to usefully inform effective help-seeking campaigns, particularly among those who have experienced COVID-19 financial hardship. Additionally, effective dissemination strategies for help-seeking campaigns should be tested and identified, such as broader targeted approaches as well as intentional mis-targeting techniques.
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