Table 2

Mental health literacy thematic framework

Thematic domainAttributeMental health literacy content
RecognitionAbility to recognise specific disorders
  • The ability to correctly identify features of a disorder, a specific disorder or category of disorders.

  • The ability to recognise disorders in hindsight.

  • The ability to recognise onset of symptoms of disorders.

  • Awareness of a wide range of symptoms.

How to seek mental health information
  • Knowledge of when, where and how to access mental health information and capacity to do so

Causes and risk factors
  • Knowledge of environmental, social, familial or biological factors that increase the risk of developing a mental illness.

Knowledge and preventionSelf-treatments (or ‘self-help’/‘coping’ strategies)
  • Knowledge of typical treatments recommended by mental health professionals.

  • Knowledge of activities that an individual can undertake to obtain professional help or self-care.

  • Understanding how to obtain good mental health and developing competencies for self-care.

Professional help available
  • Knowledge of mental health professionals and the services they provide

Attitudes and beliefsAttitudes that promote recognition and appropriate help-seeking
  • Decreasing negative attitudes and stigma related to mental disorders and treatments.

  • Improving help-seeking beliefs and intentions.

  • Table and content adopted from Bale et al,48 O’Connor et al,47 Jorm6 7 and Jorm et al.1