The Prevalence and Correlates of Untreated Serious Mental Illness

Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 2.78). 01/2002; 36(6 Pt 1):987-1007.
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To identify the number of people in the United States with untreated serious mental illness (SMI) and the reasons for their lack of treatment. DATA SOURCE/STUDY DESIGN: The National Comorbidity Survey; cross-sectional, nationally representative household survey.
An operationalization of the SMI definition set forth in the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act identified individuals with SMI in the 12 months prior to the interview. The presence of SMI then was related to the use of mental health services in the past 12 months.
Of the 6.2 percent of respondents who had SMI in the year prior to interview, fewer than 40 percent received stable treatment. Young adults and those living in nonrural areas were more likely to have unmet needs for treatment. The majority of those who received no treatment felt that they did not have an emotional problem requiring treatment. Among those who did recognize this need, 52 percent reported situational barriers, 46 percent reported financial barriers, and 45 percent reported perceived lack of effectiveness as reasons for not seeking treatment. The most commonly reported reason both for failing to seek treatment (72 percent) and for treatment dropout (58 percent) was wanting to solve the problem on their own.
Although changes in the financing of services are important, they are unlikely by themselves to eradicate unmet need for treatment of SMI. Efforts to increase both self-recognition of need for treatment and the patient centeredness of care also are needed.

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    • "Research results have shown that the number of people in need of psychological help is greater than the number of people who actually receive psychological help (Erol, Kılıc, Ulusoy, Kececi, & Simsek, 1998; Kessler et al., 2001). Andrews, Issakidis, and Carter (2001) have put forward that, on an average, less than one-third of the people who will benefit from psychological services actually receive psychological help. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the current research is to identify which factors, and in what direction these factors influence adults’ decisions to seek psychological help for their personal problems. The research was designed as a phenomenology model; the data was gathered through the semi-structured interview technique, which is mostly used in qualitative research designs. In selecting the participants, the criterion sampling technique – one of the purposeful sampling techniques – was used. Two criteria were decided upon in selecting participants; being, never having pursued psychological help previously or having terminated a previous process early. There were 6 male and 4 female participants in the study. The interviews were conducted face to face and recorded by a voice-recorder. The interviews were then examined using descriptive analysis techniques. Two main themes emerged as a result of the analysis; namely, factors that inhibited and factors that facilitated psychological help seeking in adults. Social stigma, unwillingness to share problems with an unfamiliar person, the belief that private problems should be kept in the family, one’s belief that he/she can solve his/her problems, and not knowing enough about the psychological help process were determined as the sub-themes for inhibiting factors. On the other hand, the availability of psychological services, the belief in the benefits of psychological services, trusting in the mental health professional, and receiving help free of cost were determined as the sub-themes for the facilitating factors. The results were discussed in relation to the literature and several suggestions were made regarding how to overcome the barriers preventing individuals from seeking psychological help and how to make facilitative factors more acceptable, so as to increase people’s willingness to seek help.
    Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice 02/2015; 15(1):21-31. DOI:10.12738/estp.2015.1.2094 · 0.29 Impact Factor
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    • "This grouping methodology also makes it difficult to capture the severity of illness within the same diagnostic criteria. Additionally, using samples with psychiatric diagnosis systematically excludes persons with undiagnosed, underdiagnosed, or untreated mental illness, estimated to be more than one half of all persons with severe mental illness (Kessler et al., 2001). "
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    Women s Health Issues 02/2015; 25(1):49-55. DOI:10.1016/j.whi.2014.09.001 · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite the signifi cant impact of mental illness at the individual and societal levels, researchers have increasingly documented trends in which individuals with mental illness either delay seeking mental health treatment or go untreated altogether (Kessler et al., 2001; Wang et al., 2006). Because of these trends, individual severity of mental illness may increase along with the myriad costs associated with these illnesses. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mental illness remains a pervasive social issue that aff ects the well-being of millions of individuals globally. Despite the overall prevalence of mental illness, increasing numbers of individuals needing mental health treatment do not receive it. Mental Health Stigma (MHS) has been proposed as a signifi cant barrier to seeking/obtaining mental health treatment. Mounting evidence suggests that MHS is experienced in virtually all life domains and that it may signifi cantly influence multiple health outcomes, including treatment seeking behavior. The current review paper uniquely contributes to the literature on MHS in at least four ways. First, this paper provides a recent overview of the prevalence and social costs of mental illness in society. Second, this paper presents a current literature review of MHS and helps to elucidate the impact of MHS on a range of individual outcomes, including psychological and physical health. Third, this paper specifically reviews existing literature on understanding the relationship between MHS and treatment seeking behavior. This is the fi rst known review paper to focus specifi cally on the MHS-treatment seeking relationship. Finally, the paper presents implications for future research on MHS and treatment seeking which may lead to the development of theory-based interventions to address MHS in clinical practice.
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