Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Many Mental Health Needs Go Unmet

Date:
March 28, 2007
Source:
Medical College of Georgia
Summary:
Psychiatrists' first large-scale assessment of the general population shows nearly 30 percent need mental health care and about one-third of them get it.

“There are a lot of people who need psychiatric care who aren’t getting any,” says Dr. Erick Messias, psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia and lead author on the study in the March issue of Psychiatric Services. “There is a constellation of factors keeping people away from that care. This translates into people suffering for years, when there is a solution.”
Credit: Image courtesy of Medical College of Georgia

Psychiatrists’ first large-scale assessment of the general population shows nearly 30 percent need mental health care and about one-third of them get it.

Related Articles


The study focused on Baltimore, where a team of psychiatrists interviewed 816 people between 1993 and 1999.

They found the greatest need was treatment of alcohol dependence, nearly 14 percent, and major depression, nearly 11 percent.

“There are a lot of people who need psychiatric care who aren’t getting any,” says Dr. Erick Messias, psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia and lead author on the study in the March issue of Psychiatric Services. “There is a constellation of factors keeping people away from that care. This translates into people suffering for years, when there is a solution.”

He notes that many people don’t even seek help, some because they believe they’ll get better on their own. A perceived lack of efficacy of treatment, societal pressures, stigma and a lack of comprehensive insurance coverage for mental health also are factors. Insufficient numbers of mental health professionals also impede access.

In his own practice, Dr. Messias sees people who have struggled for years before they finally seek help. While he acknowledges that seeking help won’t always cure the problem, he believes it can decrease most people’s pain.

The study looked at the most common mental health problems, social phobia, panic disorder and agoraphobia – in addition to depression and alcohol dependence. These problems may not require medication but could benefit from treatment, from psychotherapy to programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, he says.

Interestingly those with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, are more likely to get help. “However, from a public health perspective these conditions, albeit causing great pain and suffering, compared to prevalent mental disorders, affect a smaller proportion of the population" Dr. Messias says.

“Prevalence of mental disorders is only an approximation of the need for treatment,” he and co-authors write. “There is a substantial need for mental health services in the general population.”

Dr. Messias suggests that Baltimore’s population reflects the prevalence and unmet needs of most larger cities, such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta. Studies are needed to see how midsize and small cities fare, he says.

What is clear is more mental health professionals are needed across the spectrum, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists, and those professionals need to work as teams to maximize impact, he says.

He estimates that within his own practice, a psychologist working with him would enable him to double his patient load.

Acknowledging that it can be difficult for individuals to decide they need any level of mental health care, Dr. Messias says there are some key indicators. “I always ask patients how they sleep, because the way you sleep tells me a lot about how well you are,” he says. “If you are so tired you are sleeping all the time or you can’t sleep, that’s a sign that something on your mind is not letting you relax.” Work and personal relationships are two other good indicators. “If you can love and work, you probably will do fine.”

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are co-authors on the study which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia. "Study Shows Many Mental Health Needs Go Unmet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070326152642.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia. (2007, March 28). Study Shows Many Mental Health Needs Go Unmet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070326152642.htm
Medical College of Georgia. "Study Shows Many Mental Health Needs Go Unmet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070326152642.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins