Influence of Age and Gender on Mental Health Help-Seeking Behavior among Mental Patients in Nyeri County: A Survey of Nyeri County Referral Hospital

  • Elizabeth W. Gichimu United States International University-Africa
  • Ruthie C. Rono United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Micheal Kihara United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Mental health, Age, Gender, Help-seeking behavior, Young, Adults


In a given year, around one in five people over the age of 18, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. According to World Health Organization (WHO) this condition interferes with their functionality and thus impacting their productivity in society. Considering the role played by the adult population in community development, this paper sought to establish how their functionality has lagged behind due to the mental health of this category of people in Nyeri County. The study, therefore, sought to establish the effects of age as well as gender on the mental wellbeing and help-hunting conduct of adults attending Nyeri County Referral Hospital. The study employed a cross-sectional survey design targeting the adult population. A sample size of 200 respondents was purposively selected and from whom data was collected using a General Help-Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ) guide. The collected data was then descriptively analyzed and presented in structure of percentages, frequencies, and mean together with standard deviation. To find relationships for testing the hypothesis, chi-square tests were employed. Chi-square outcomes displayed a significant relationship [χ2 (21) = 56.976, p= 0.000, v= 0.549] between age and seeking mental health help from a friend. Similarly, there was a significant relationship [χ2 (21) = 37.530, p=0.015, v= 0.442] between age and seeking mental health help from relatives or family members. There was a significant relationship (χ2 (3) = 10.368, p= 0.016, v= 0.234) between gender and seeking mental health help from parent. Age was found to have a greater influence on mental health seeking behavior in the County as compared with gender.


Adaramaja, S. R., & Tijani, O. M. (2014). Demographic factors as correlates of health - seeking behaviour of the people of Oyo State, Nigeria. Ghana Journal of Development Studies, 11(2), 100-110.

Adhikari, D., & Rijal, D. P. (2010). Factors affecting Health Seeking Behavior of Senior Citizens of Dharan. Health Seeking Behavior, 3(1), 50-57.

Ali, F., Sami, F., Rehman, H., Siddique, I., & Haider, K. (2006). Relation of gender education and health seeking behaviour of the general population regarding psychiatric illness. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 56(9), 421-422.

Andersson, L. M. C., Schierenbeck, I., Strumpher, J., Krantz, G., Topper, K., Backman, G., Van Rooyen, D. (2013). Help-seeking behaviour, barriers to care and experiences of care among persons with depression in Eastern Cape, South Africa. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(2), 439-448.

Bird, N., McCarthy, G., & O’Sullivan, K. (2019). Exploring the Effectiveness of an Integrated Mixed Martial Arts and Psychotherapy Intervention for Young Men’s Mental Health. American Journal of Men’s Health, 13(1), 155798831983212.

Booth, N. R., McDermott, R. C., Cheng, H.-L., & Borgogna, N. C. (2019). Masculine gender role stress and self-stigma of seeking help: The moderating roles of self-compassion and self-coldness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 66.

Boyd, C. P., Hayes, L., Nurse, S., Aisbett, D. L., Francis, K., Newnham, K., & Sewell, J. (2011). Preferences and intention of rural adolescents toward seeking help for mental health problems. Rural and Remote Health, 11(1), 1582.

Buttigieg, A., Camilleri, M., & Calleja, N. (2016). Barriers to mental health help-seeking behaviour in adolescents in MaltaErkan Pehlivan. European Journal of Public Health, 26(suppl_1).

Cakar, F. S., & Savi, S. (2014). An Exploratory Study of Adolescent’s Help-Seeking Sources. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 159, 610-614.

Calear, A. L., Banfield, M., Batterham, P. J., Morse, A. R., Forbes, O., Carron-Arthur, B., & Fisk, M. (2017). Silence is deadly: a cluster-randomised controlled trial of a mental health help-seeking intervention for young men. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 834.

Cutler, D. M., & Lleras-Muney, A. (2011) Understanding differences in health behaviors by education. J Health Econ 29(1), 1-28.

Dawson, C. (2009). Introduction to research methods; A practical guide for anyone undertaking a research project. Oxford: Spring Hill House.

El Kahi, H. Abi Rizk, G. Y., Hlais, S. A., & Adib, S. M. (2012). Health-care-seeking behaviour among university students in Lebanon. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal = La Revue de Santé de La Méditerranée Orientale = Al-Majallah Al-Ṣiḥḥīyah Li-Sharq Al-Mutawassiṭ, 18(6), 598-606.

Fargas-Malet, M., & McSherry, D. (2017). The Mental Health and Help-Seeking Behaviour of Children and Young People in Care in Northern Ireland: Making Services Accessible and Engaging. The British Journal of Social Work, 48.

Kagan, M., Itzick, M., Even-Zohar, A., &Zychlinski, E. (2018). Self-Reported Likelihood of Seeking Social Worker Help Among Older Men in Israel. American Journal of Men’s Health, 12(6), 2208-2219.

Kim, M., & Lee, Y.-H. (2017). Gender-specific factors associated with the use of mental health services for suicidal ideation: Results from the 2013 Korean Community Health Survey. PLOS ONE, 12(12).

Lawson, D. (2004). Determinants of Health Seeking Behaviour in Uganda – Is it Just Income and User Fees That Are Important? University of Manchester, 44(March), 1–30.

Lubega, N., Musinguzi, G., Omiel, B., &Tumuhe, J. L. (2015). Determinants of health seeking behaviour among men in Luwero District. Journal of Education Research and Behavioral Sciences, 4(2), 37–54. http://www.apexjournal.

Mackenzie, C. S., Scott, T., Mather, A., & Sareen, J. (2008). Older Adults’ Help-Seeking Attitudes and Treatment Beliefs Concerning Mental Health Problems. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(12), 1010-1019.

Magaard JL, Seeralan T, Schulz H, & Brütt AL (2017) Factors associated with help-seeking behaviour among individuals with major depression: A systematic review. PLoS ONE, 12(5).

Milner, A., Shields, M., & King, T. (2019). The Influence of Masculine Norms and Mental Health on Health Literacy among Men: Evidence From the Ten to Men Study. American Journal of Men’s Health.

Milner, A., Kavanagh, A., King, T., & Currier, D. (2018). The Influence of Masculine Norms and Occupational Factors on Mental Health: Evidence From the Baseline of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health. American Journal of Men’s Health, 696–705.

Mitchell, C. A., McMillan, B., & Hagan, T. (2017). Mental health help-seeking behaviours in young adults. British Journal of General Practice, 67 (654), 8-9.

Mojtabai, R. (2005). Trends in contacts with mental health professionals and cost barriers to mental health care among adults with significant psychological distress in the United States: 1997–2002. American Journal of Public Health, 95(11), 2009-2014.

Musoke, D., Boynton, P., Butler, C., &Musoke, M. B. (2014). Health seeking behaviour and challenges in utilising health facilities in Wakiso district, Uganda. African Health Sciences, 14(4), 1046-55.

Oliver, M. I., Pearson, N., Coe, N., & Gunnell, D. (2005). Help-seeking behaviour in men and women with common mental health problems: cross-sectional study. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 186(4), 297-301.

Parent, M. C., Hammer, J. H., Bradstreet, T. C., Schwartz, E. N., & obe, T. (2018). Men’s Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors: An Intersectional Analysis. American Journal of Men’s Health, 12(1), 64-73.

Patel V, Ramasundarahettige C, Vijayakumar L, Thakur JS, Gajalakshmi V, Gururaj G, et al. (2012) Suicide mortality in India: a nationally representative survey. Lancet. 379, 2343-2351.

Patle, R. A., &Khakse, G. M. (2015). Health-seeking behaviour of elderly individuals: A community-based cross-sectional study. The National Medical Journal of India, 28(4), 181-184.

Rahman, S. (2016). Sex, Gender and Health Seeking Behaviour Determinants. International Journal for Equity in Health, 2(2), 1-16.

Rickwood, D., Deane, F. P., Wilson, C. J., &Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Young people’ s help-seeking for mental health problems. Health San Francisco, 4(3), 1-34.

River, J. (2018). Diverse and Dynamic Interactions: A Model of Suicidal Men’s Help Seeking as It Relates to Health Services. American Journal of Men’s Health, 12(1), 150-159.

Salaheddin, K., & Mason, B. (2016). Identifying barriers to mental health help-seeking among young adults in the UK: a cross-sectional survey. The British Journal of General Practice: The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 66(651), e 686-692.

Slade T, Johnston A, Teesson M, Whiteford H, Burgess P, Pirkis J, & Saw S. (2009). The mental health of Australians 2: report on the 2007 National Survey of mental health and wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing; 2009.

Slewa-Younan, S., Yaser, A., Guajardo, M. G. U., Mannan, H., Smith, C. A., & Mond, J. M. (2017). The mental health and help-seeking behaviour of resettled Afghan refugees in Australia. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 11(1), 49.

Srivastava, K. (2012) Women and mental health: Psychosocial perspective. Ind Psychiatry J [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Mar 10]; 21:1-3.

Thompson, A. E., Anisimowicz, Y., Miedema, B., Hogg, W., Wodchis, W. P., & Aubrey-Bassler, K. (2016). The influence of gender and other patient characteristics on health care-seeking behaviour: a QUALICOPC study. BMC Family Practice, 17, 38.

Umubyeyi, A., Mogren, I., Ntaganira, J., & Krantz, G. (2016). Help-seeking behaviours, barriers to care and self-efficacy for seeking mental health care: a population-based study in Rwanda. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(1), 81-92.

Vidourek, R. A., King, K. A., Nabors, L. A., &Merianos, A. L. (2014). Students’ benefits and barriers to mental health help-seeking. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 2(1), 1009-1022.

Wilson, C. J., Deane, F. P., Ciarrochi, J., & Rickwood, D. (2005). Measuring Help-Seeking Intentions: Properties of the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 39(1), 15-28. from

Yamawaki, N., Pulsipher, C., Moses, J. D., Rasmuse, K. R., & Ringger, K. A. (2011). Predictors of negative attitudes toward mental health services: A general population study in Japan. The European Journal of Psychiatry, 25(2), 101-110.
How to Cite
Gichimu, E., Rono, R., & Kihara, M. (2021, January 15). Influence of Age and Gender on Mental Health Help-Seeking Behavior among Mental Patients in Nyeri County: A Survey of Nyeri County Referral Hospital. African Journal of Education,Science and Technology, 6(2). Retrieved from