Mental health literacy focuses on helping people develop a working knowledge of mental health – what it is and how to take care of it.1 The term mental health literacy was introduced in Australia by Anthony Jorm and represents a relatively new area of study.2 It specifically refers to one’s knowledge and beliefs about mental health and mental illness, which effects how people maintain mental health, recognize signs of mental health problems, and seek treatment for mental illness.3
1 Barry, M. M., & Jenkins, R. (2007). Implementing mental health promotion. Edinburgh, Scotland: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
2 Jorm, A.F., Korten, A.E. , Jacomb, P.A., Christensen, H., Rodgers, B. & Pollitt, P. (1997). "Mental health literacy": A survey of the public’s ability to recognize mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment. Medical Journal of Australia, 166, 182-186.
3 Griffiths, K. M., Christensen, H., & Jorm, A. F. (2009). Mental health literacy as a function of remoteness of residence: An Australian national study. BMC Public Health, 9, 1–20.