Mental health care for adults with suicide ideation

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Jul-Aug 2006;28(4):271-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2006.01.001.


Objective: To estimate mental health and substance abuse services use for adults with and without suicide ideation.

Method: 2000-2001 follow-up of respondents to a nationally representative survey. Measures include self-reports of suicide ideation, specialty and primary care mental health services use, past year counseling, psychotropic medications and perceived need.

Results: The percentage of respondents who reported suicide ideation was 3.6%; 74% of them had a probable psychiatric disorder for which effective treatments exist. Nearly half of those with suicide ideation did not perceive a need for care, including some who received care. Of those with suicide ideation and a probable disorder, almost 40% received no treatment. Of those with suicide ideation who perceived a need for alcohol, drug or mental health (ADM) care, almost 40% received no care or inadequate care. In a multivariate model, having a probable psychiatric disorder, perceived need and being white were associated with increased likelihood of treatment use, among persons with suicide ideation.

Conclusions: Many adults with suicide ideation do not perceive a need for care or receive treatment in the same year. Even among those perceiving a need for care, many experience difficulties in obtaining it. It is critical to understand barriers to treatments for this high-risk group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology