New research shows watching Dr. Phil can help families find mental health help


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Parents will do anything for their child, especially when they are suffering. But many people diagnosed with a mental illness, including children, fail to receive appropriate treatment — parents often just don’t know what to do to help their child. A new study suggests that watching The Dr. Phil Show just might give parents the tools they need to get on the phone or get online and look for the help their child needs.

We surveyed 306 parents of children ages 8-17 and found that the more parents watch Dr. Phil, the more trust they have in him (something we call a ‘parasocial relationship’), and the more they trust him, the more parents believe they are capable of finding help if their child had a mental illness, which is ultimately related to their intention to seek mental health treatment for their child.

So what does this really mean? This means that parents who watch Dr. Phil seem to be empowered by the show to seek out help for their child if their child were to ever suffer from a mental disorder. Now, I don’t think watching the show is THE solution to educating parents about children’s mental health issues, but it just might be the thing that tips the scales in favor of a parent making a much needed phone call to help their child.

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