This study identified predictors of mental health service use over 12 months among 746 individuals with mental disorders and high psychological distress from a catchment area in southwest Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Data collected in 2011 and 2014 were analyzed using Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use. A hierarchical logistic regression identified predictors of mental health service use. In all, 29% of participants reported using mental health services in the previous 12 months. Three key enabling variables predicted mental health service use: having a family doctor, previous experience with mental health services, and employment. Self-perception of mental health, stressful events, and unmet needs marginally (Needs factors: non-clinical variables) were also associated with the outcome variable. Mental health service utilization depends primarily on organization of the health system, and patient perceptions of its condition (non-clinical needs). Mental health policy should focus on increasing the availability of services and professionals, especially family doctors. Other measures for encouraging service use and overall population wellbeing include raising public awareness around the signs and symptoms of mental illness as a way to promote more rapid response to patient needs, and protecting workplace mental health by reducing stress and stigma toward individuals affected by mental distress.
Keywords: High psychological distress; Mental disorders; Predictors; Service use.
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