Monday, October 24, 2005

Many Canadians reluctant to seek mental health treatment

Psychiatric News reports:

Even though universal health insurance is available in Canada, many Canadians still seem reluctant to seek mental health services, according to a study in the September Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 

The lead researcher was Helen-Maria Vasiliadis, Ph.D., a Canadian Institutes of Health Research postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Canada's first national survey on mental health and well-being was conducted in 2002 and included detailed questions about service use. It was called the Statistics Canada Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-Being. Vasiliadis and colleagues have now analyzed service-use data from that survey. 

Most Canadians with a mental disorder, including dependence on illicit drugs, did not seek help for it during the year preceding the survey, Vasiliadis and coworkers found. 

Only 34 percent of respondents with depression reported past-year use of professional mental health services. The corresponding percentages were 42 percent for mania, 38 percent for panic disorder, 29 percent for social anxiety, and 29 percent for agoraphobia, and 37 percent for drug dependence. 

Women, single persons, and divorced individuals were more likely to seek help for a mental disorder than were men and individuals with partners. People with less education and people born outside of Canada were found to take less advantage of mental health services than individuals with more education and born within Canada.

The article, Service Use for Mental Health Reasons: Cross-Provincial Differences in Rates, Determinants, and Equity of Access (Helen-Maria Vasiliadis, PhD, Alain Lesage, MD, Carol Adair, PhD, Richard Boyer, PhD) was published in the September issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

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