Access to mental health services in urban areas: examine the availability, affordability, and accessibility of mental health services in urban settings, particularly for individuals with intersecting marginalized identities

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2024 May 1;37(3):185-190. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000924. Epub 2024 Jan 22.

Abstract

Purpose of review: To offer an integrative overview of mental health services in urban areas across different social groups and underscore the challenges and potential solutions to improve access to mental health services in urban areas.

Recent findings: The process of urbanization places a lot of toll on the current mental health services system. Challenges to both mental health and mental health services include the elevated risk of some mental and behavioral health issues, the increased demand for mental health services, and the intensification of mental health inequalities. The phenomenon of mental health inequalities is exacerbated in urban areas, with certain disadvantaged population groups more likely to report higher mental health issues and difficulties in accessing mental health services. Targeted and dedicated strategies are warranted to develop and allocate resources to address the mental health services needs among those simultaneously with multiple disadvantaged social and economic characteristics.

Summary: Urbanization places a substantive burden on both mental health and mental health services and creates challenges to mental health services access. Integrative and multisectoral initiatives could shed light on effectively addressing the issues of access to mental health services in urban cities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Urban Population
  • Urbanization