Information Seeking Behaviour on Abused Sustance among Secondary School Students in Ilorin-South, Nigeria: Precusor to Mental Health Counselling

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Journal of Professional Counselling


Increase in mental health cases among adolescents of secondary school age as a result of drug abuse is of grave concern to Nigerians and international communities and it is begging for decisive attention. In recognition of the conjecture that adolescence is a critical time for prevention of diseases and mental disorders and for the benefits of basing mental health counselling programmes on the information need and seeking behaviour exhibited by the adolescent, the present study investigated abused drugs secondary school students seek information on; the reasons for seeking information on abused drugs; ascertained their sources of obtaining information and drew implications for mental health counselling. The study was a quantitative type, conducted using survey research method. The population consisted of all secondary school students in private and public schools with a sample size of 224 which was determined by Cochran’s formula and selected using multistage sampling technique. In collecting the data, a researcher-made questionnaire was validated and tested for reliability using Cronbach’s alpha method. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percentages. The findings revealed that the students sought information on array of drugs being abused at a varying degree but less interested in hard ones ; while the sources of obtaining information on drug use and abuse were ‘friends/peer group’, ‘ internet, ‘virtual social media’, ‘classroom teaching’ ‘school environment’, neighbourhood practice’, ‘television’ ‘siblings/family members’ with the least being printed materials in libraries, they searched for information mostly on how drug relate to ‘overcoming shyness’, ‘academic performance enhancement’ and ‘outperform in competition’. Implications of the findings for mental health counselling were drawn: that mental health medical counsellors should take account of the value of students’ behaviour in mental health counselling; recognise knowledge, information needs and seeking behaviour as integral of cognitive information processing approach (CIP) to decision making in counselling, as it concerns drug abuse and mental health, and; appreciate the outcome of information seeking behaviour research while developing mental health inventory and school counselling programmes on drug use. Lastly, the study implied that librarians, particularly medical librarians and professional counsellors, mental health counsellors need to collaborate in addressing mental health issues in the society, most especially in the educational institutions, through sensitization, workshops and conferences. Recommendations were provided based on the findings.



Substance Abuse; Information Seeking Behaviour; Mental Health; Counselling Strategies