A qualitative study of primary health care access, barriers and satisfaction among people with mental illness

Psychol Health Med. 2008 May;13(3):303-12. doi: 10.1080/13548500701473952.


Research has found that a substantial proportion of individuals with mental illness have high morbidity and mortality rates, and high under-diagnosis of major physical illnesses. Furthermore, people with a mental illness tend not to seek out or utilise health care services. The reasons for the negative attitudes and behaviour towards health care services among this population have not been investigated. This paper presents findings from a study that investigated the health care service needs of people with mental illness (n = 20), and views from health care providers (n = 16) regarding access to these services by people with a mental illness. Results indicated that psychiatric patients identified a range of barriers to their health care usage and low levels of health care satisfaction. These views were shared with health care professionals. Reasons for these findings and strategies to address these problems so that there is better access to health care services for people with mental illness are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Sick Role*
  • Victoria