Exploring barriers to primary care for patients with severe mental illness: frontline patient and provider accounts

Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2012 Mar;33(3):172-80. doi: 10.3109/01612840.2011.638415.


The goal of this study was to obtain in-depth descriptions of barriers to primary care for adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and to provide solutions to these barriers. Qualitative interviews were administered to mental health and medical providers, as well as patients. Several major themes were reported including: poor access to care; patient limitations (e.g., psychopathology, cognitive difficulties); societal, health care system, and provider bias; integrated/fragmented care, communication difficulties; and quality of care issues. Results point to a need for nursing professionals to continue to improve access to medical care for this population, as well as to continue to integrate mental health and primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Primary Health Care*