Depression has been found to be highly prevalent among university students and is shown to be increasing globally; yet, despite this increase in student depression, countless students go untreated. The aim of this study was to identify first- year psychology students’ awareness of and help-seeking behaviour due to depression at the University of Pretoria. This study followed a quantitative descriptive research design, which was non-experimental in nature. Data were collected using an online questionnaire, in which 134 first-year students participated. Results indicate that 92.5% of participants believed they were aware of the symptoms of depression. However, 25% of participants were unable to identify whether they were suffering from depression. This was a matter of concern, as 53.7% of participants exhibited some degree of depressive symptoms. Of the participants in the study, 41% were not aware of student support services available on campus, and 70.9% were unaware of external organisations that offer support for depression. Interestingly, despite the lack of awareness of external organisations, the majority of participants believed that these organisations would be more effective in treating depression compared to student support services. A lack of time, financial constraints, and stigmatisation were the most prevalent barriers that prevented participants from seeking help. The results suggest that the university should attempt to reduce stigmatisation in seeking help for depression and provide more exposure for support facilities available to students on campus, as well as further education around depression itself. Further research is needed to identify if these results extend to other students in South Africa.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2019.