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Table 3 Barriers to receiving professional mental health care among students with mental distress who have not received mental care in the past three months (n = 239)

From: Mental distress, perceived need, and barriers to receive professional mental health care among university students in Ethiopia

Barriers to Mental Health CareMental Distress who did not receive professional mental health treatment (N = 239)Total (N)Item Mean and (SD)
Barrier to any degree % (n)Major barrier % (n)
Stigma-related barriers
 Concern about what my family might think, say, do or feel48.1 (115)18.4 (44)2390.98 (1.18)
 Concern that I might be seen as weak for having a mental health problem38.9 (93)14.2 (34)2390.76 (1.10)
 Feeling embarrassed or ashamed29.8 (71)10.9 (26)2390.58 (1.01)
 Concern that I might be seen as ‘crazy’31.9 (76)10.5 (25)2390.61 (1.02)
 Not wanting a mental health problem to be on my medical records26.0 (62)8.4 (20)2390.50 (0.95)
 Concern that people might not take me seriously if they found out I was having professional care28.0 (67)7.1 (17)2390.51 (0.93)
 Concern that people I know might find out28.4 (68)6.7 (16)2390.47 (0.87)
 Concern about what my friends might think, say or do33.5 (80)6.7 (16)2390.56 (0.92)
 Concern about what students might think, say or do31.4 (75)6.3 (15)2390.53 (0.90)
Attitudinal-related barriers
Thinking I did not have a problem67.4 (161)38.1 (91)2391.59 (1.29)
Thinking the problem would get better by itself74.4 (178)36.8 (88)2391.65 (1.22)
Preferring to get alternative forms of care66.5 (159)34.3 (82)2391.51 (1.27)
Wanting to solve the problem on my own71.1 (170)28.0 (67)2391.50 (1.18)
 Preferring to get help from family or friends58.6 (140)22.2 (53)2391.20 (1.20)
 Dislike of talking about my feelings, emotions or thoughts38.0 (91)9.6 (23)2390.69 (1.02)
 Concerns about the treatments available (e.g. medication side effects)36.8 (88)9.6 (23)2390.65 (1.01)
 Thinking that professional care probably would not help30.9 (74)7.5 (18)2390.54 (0.93)
 Fear of being put in hospital against my will21.4 (51)7.1 (17)2390.41 (0.89)
 Having had previous bad experiences with professional care for mental health16.7 (40)4.6 (11)2390.30 (0.76)
Instrumental-related barriers
 Not being able to afford the financial costs involved56.0 (134)25.5 (61)2391.23 (1.25)
 Having no one who could help me get professional care59.8 (143)24.7 (59)2391.26 (1.22)
Being unsure where to go to get professional care71.6 (171)21.0 (51)2391.36 (1.11)
 Difficulty taking time off education55.2 (132)17.6 (42)2391.10 (1.16)
 Problems with transport or travelling to appointments44.4 (106)17.6 (42)2390.92 (1.18)
 Being too unwell to ask for help51.9 (124)14.6 (35)2390.96 (1.11)
 Professionals from my own ethnic or cultural group not being available26.4 (63)6.7 (16)2390.47 (0.89)
  1. Note: Question number 5, 14, 24, and 29 in the BACE-III were not included in this table, because more than 97% of the participants responded “Not applicable” option for each item. Barriers reported percentage greater than 60% to any degree were indicated in bold color