Review Article

대한불안의학회지 (19권2호 48-55)

Understanding Mental Health Literacy

정신 건강 이해력 이해하기: 개념과 최신연구동향

Yong-Wook Shin

Department of Psychiatry, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Objectives : This study aims to investigate the concept of mental health literacy, its evolution, and its significance in modern healthcare practices.

Methods : This paper reviews the evolution of mental health literacy, examining pertinent studies both within the country and internationally. It also addresses the limitations and challenges associated with mental health diagnoses.

Results : Findings from various studies indicate that public awareness and recognition of mental health issues are generally inadequate. Identified causes of mental health conditions by study participants point to personal and societal influences, while biological factors are frequently neglected. In South Korea, there is a notable preference for non-professional support over psychiatric interventions.

Conclusions : This study highlights the growing importance of mental health literacy in today's society, emphasizing the need for accurate understanding of mental health issues and effective treatment approaches. Similar to physical health literacy, mental health literacy should be considered a basic human right. This perspective marks a shift from a knowledge monopoly held by experts to the inclusion and active involvement of ‘people with lived experience’ in the mental health service system. (Anxiety and Mood 2023;19(2):48-55)


Mental health literacy; Stigma; Holistic health management.