Factors related to utilization of services for mental health reasons in Montreal, Canada
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This study examines factors related to the utilization of services for mental health reasons by Montreal residents. Data were drawn from telephone interviews. A random sample of 893 respondents completed a questionnaire on service utilization and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule Self Administered to assess DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders. Results indicate that 12.8% of the population had used such services in the past year. Medical doctors and psychiatrists, whose services are free of charge under universal health coverage, were consulted, respectively, by 4.1% and 2.0% of respondents. Psychologists, whose services are not free, were seen by 3.4% of respondents. In all, 42.0% of respondents who presented a current diagnosis used services in the past year. The highest proportion of users (48.0%) was found among respondents who presented both current and lifetime diagnoses and among respondents with comorbidity. The choice of caregiver was related also to pattern of disorders: respondents with current and comorbid disorders tended to consult general practitioners, while respondents with lifetime disorders or with lifetime and current disorders favoured specialized care. In line with other studies, self-perception of mental health, gender and marital status were related to utilization; unlike other studies, attitudes and age were not. It is argued that particularities found in this study stem not only from methodological considerations, but also from the configuration of the mental health system in Quebec, where the greater availability of psychologists may facilitate service utilization.
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