Disparities in Mental Health Treatment Following the World Trade Center Disaster: Implications for Mental Health Care and Health Services Research

Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
Journal of Traumatic Stress (Impact Factor: 2.72). 08/2005; 18(4):287-97. DOI: 10.1002/jts.20039
Source: PubMed


To assess disparities in mental health treatment in New York City (NYC) after the World Trade Center Disaster (WTCD) reported previously related to care access, we conducted analyses among a cross-sectional survey of adults who had posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression (N = 473) one year after the event. The dependent variables examined were use of mental health services, in general, and use of mental health services related to the WTCD. Similar dependent variables were developed for medication usage. Although a number of bivariate results were statistically significant for postdisaster mental health visits, in a multivariate logistic regression model, only WTCD exposure remained significant. For service utilization related to the WTCD, the multivariate results indicated that African Americans were less likely to have had these visits compared to Whites, while those with a regular doctor, who had greater exposure to WTCD events, and those who had a perievent panic attack were more likely to have had such visits. In terms of medication use, multivariate results suggested that African Americans were less likely to use postdisaster medications, whereas persons 45 + years old and those with a regular doctor, were more likely to use them. For WTCD-related medication use, multivariate models indicated that African Americans were less likely to use medications, relative to Whites, while those between 45 and 64 years old, those with a regular doctor, those exposed to more WTCD events, and those who had a perievent panic attack, were more likely to have taken medications related to the disaster. The primary reason respondents gave for not seeking treatment (55% of subsample) was that they did not believe that they had a problem (73%). Other reasons were that they wanted to solve the problem on their own (5%), had problems accessing services (6%), had financial problems (4%), or had a fear of treatment (4%). Despite the availability of free mental health services offered in a supportive and potentially less stigmatizing environment post disaster, there still appeared to be barriers to receiving postdisaster services among those presumably in need of care.

Download full-text


Available from: Richard E Adams, Apr 29, 2014
    • "Again, rates of help-seeking vary significantly between studies. The factors most commonly associated with treatment-seeking are level of psychopathology, level of exposure to the disaster and being of Caucasian background (Boscarino et al., 2005). Previous studies have reported patterns of psychotropic medication use after disasters. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on the mental health of the local population by examining prescribing patterns of psychotropic medication. Dispensing data from community pharmacies for antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics and sedatives/hypnotics are routinely recorded in a national database. The close relationship between prescribing and dispensing provides the opportunity to assess prescribing trends for Canterbury compared to national data and therefore examines the longitudinal impact of the earthquakes on prescribing patterns. Short-term increases in the use of anxiolytics and sedatives/hypnotics were observed after the most devastating February 2011 earthquake, but this effect was not sustained. There were no observable effects of the earthquakes on antidepressant or antipsychotic dispensing. Short-term increases in dispensing were only observed for the classes of anxiolytics and sedatives/hypnotics. No sustained changes in dispensing occurred. These findings suggest that long-term detrimental effects on the mental health of the Canterbury population were either not present or have not resulted in increased prescribing of psychotropic medication. © The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2015.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
  • Source
    • "To our knowledge, there is no current information on the UMHCN of those exposed to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center (WTC) attacks. Studies conducted in New York City (NYC) within 2 years of the disaster showed that people with mental health symptoms delayed or failed to seek treatment due to financial and access problems and a reluctance to seek care [4,5]. A renewed interest in the UMHCN of exposed persons has arisen due to the recent release of public funds for monitoring and treatment of 9/11-related health conditions, which includes the provision of mental health services at no out of pocket cost for those who are eligible [6]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is little current information about the unmet mental health care need (UMHCN) and reasons for it among those exposed to the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attacks. The purpose of this study was to assess the level of UMHCN among symptomatic individuals enrolled in the WTC Health Registry (WTCHR) in 2011–2012, and to analyze the relationship between UMHCN due to attitudinal, cost, and access factors and mental health symptom severity, mental health care utilization, health insurance availability, and social support. The WTCHR is a prospective cohort study of individuals with reported exposure to the 2001 WTC attacks. This study used data from 9,803 adults who completed the 2003–2004 (Wave 1) and 2011–2012 (Wave 3) surveys and had posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression in 2011–2012. We estimated logistic regression models relating perceived attitudinal, cost and access barriers to symptom severity, health care utilization, a lack of health insurance, and social support after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Slightly more than one-third (34.2%) of study participants reported an UMHCN. Symptom severity was a strong predictor of UMHCN due to attitudinal and perceived cost and access reasons. Attitudinal UMHCN was common among those not using mental health services, particularly those with relatively severe mental health symptoms. Cost-related UMHCN was significantly associated with a lack of health insurance but not service usage. Access-related barriers were significantly more common among those who did not use any mental health services. A higher level of social support served as an important buffer against cost and access UMHCN. A significant proportion of individuals exposed to the WTC attacks with depression or PTSD 10 years later reported an UMHCN, and individuals with more severe and disabling conditions, those who lacked health insurance, and those with low levels of social support were particularly vulnerable.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Public Health
  • Source
    • "Despite increases in psychological and physical symptoms, there was a decline in inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and mental health care utilization in New York City (NYC) in the weeks following 9/11 compared to utilization in the month prior to 9/11 [9] or to expected utilization [10]. Many survivors encountered barriers to mental health treatment, including stigma associated with mental illness, lack of knowledge about services, inadequate finances or time, beliefs that others are in greater need of services or that individuals can care for themselves, mistrust of mental health professionals, and fear of discussing the attacks [5,11]. After the 9/11 disaster, numerous programs that provided physical and mental health services were available to different groups during different time periods [12]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Many individuals who have 9/11-related physical and mental health symptoms do not use or are unaware of 9/11-related health care services despite extensive education and outreach efforts by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry (the Registry) and various other organizations. This study sought to evaluate Registry enrollees’ perceptions of the relationship between physical and mental health outcomes and 9/11, as well as utilization of and barriers to 9/11-related health care services. Methods Six focus groups were conducted in January 2010 with diverse subgroups of enrollees, who were likely eligible for 9/11-related treatment services. The 48 participants were of differing race/ethnicities, ages, and boroughs of residence. Qualitative analysis of focus group transcripts was conducted using open coding and the identification of recurring themes. Results Participants described a variety of physical and mental symptoms and conditions, yet their knowledge and utilization of 9/11 health care services were low. Participants highlighted numerous barriers to accessing 9/11 services, including programmatic barriers (lack of program visibility and accessibility), personal barriers such as stigmatization and unfamiliarity with 9/11-related health problems and services, and a lack of referrals from their primary care providers. Moreover, many participants were reluctant to connect their symptoms to the events of 9/11 due to lack of knowledge, the amount of time that had elapsed since 9/11, and the attribution of current health symptoms to the aging process. Conclusions Knowledge of the barriers to 9/11-related health care has led to improvements in the Registry’s ability to refer eligible enrollees to appropriate treatment programs. These findings highlight areas for consideration in the implementation of the new federal WTC Health Program, now funded under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (PL 111-347), which includes provisions for outreach and education.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · BMC Public Health
Show more