The mental health situation among adolescents in Malaysia has reached a worrying state with the rising number of cases. Despite a significant increase in the literature on mental health, there is a lack of studies that focused on mental health awareness. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the factors affecting Malaysian youth’s mental health awareness as well as the mediating roles of knowledge on mental health, knowledge on professional help, and attitude towards mental health.
Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 450 secondary school students aged 15–19 years old in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka who were recruited via purposive sampling. Data analysis was performed using SPSS and SmartPLS to obtain the descriptive analysis, measurement model, and structural model.
The results indicated that mental health awareness was influenced by knowledge on mental health and attitude towards mental health. The findings also revealed that familiarity and media exposure were important determinants of knowledge on mental health, knowledge on professional help, and attitude towards mental health. Moreover, the results indicated that knowledge on mental health positively mediated the relationship between media exposure and mental health awareness. Besides, attitude towards mental health also found to play mediating roles between familiarity and mental health awareness, as well as between media exposure and mental health awareness.