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Vol. 24 - Num. 94

Original Papers

Mental Health Literacy: knowledge and beliefs of an adolescent population

João Virtuosoa, Joana Filipe Ribeiroa, Iris Santos Silvaa, Natalia Oviedob, Isabel Gonzalezb, Sónia Santosb, Pedro Fernandesb, Rita S. Oliveirab

aMIR-Pediatría. Hospital Sousa Martins. Guarda. Portugal.
bServicio de Pediatría. Hospital Sousa Martins. Guarda. Portugal.

Correspondence: J Virtuoso. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Virtuoso J, Ribeiro JF, Santos Silva I, Oviedo N, Gonzalez I, Santos S, et al. Mental Health Literacy: knowledge and beliefs of an adolescent population. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2022;24:e195-e200.

Published in Internet: 16-06-2022 - Visits: 517


Introduction: mental Health Literacy (MHL) encompasses knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders, including aspects related to their recognition, management and prevention. Several studies reveal an inadequate level of MHL in the adolescent population, leading to a delay in seeking help. the objective was to assess the level of MHL in a population of adolescents.

Material and methods: We administered the mental health literacy questionnaire (MHL) to the sample. The statistical analysis was performed with the software SPSS®22.0, using the Student t test (statistical significance p <0.05).

Results: we received 179 correctly completed questionnaires, and 24% of respondents reported the presence of mental illness in the family. The mean total score in the MHLq, was 122 points (SD, 8) out of a total maximum of 145 points. When it came to the subscales of the questionnaire, we found a statistically significant lower level of erroneous beliefs/myths about medical illness in female vs male participants (p = 0.02) and respondents who reported mental illness in the family (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: MHLq proved to be an easy method for screening MHL. The population under study exhibited reasonable knowledge in this area, and the presence of mental illness in the family had a favourable impact on the results. The study highlighted the importance of future interventions for education and dispelling myths that condition attitudes and prejudices, especially in this age group.


Adolescent Literacy Mental health



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