Correlates of a perceived need for mental health assistance and differences between those who do and do not seek help
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Background: This study examined prevalence of perceived need for mental health assistance, characteristics of people with a perceived need, and how persons with a need who sought help were different from those who did not.
Methods: A national random phone survey (n = 1,394) was conducted in Israel, which included questions about (1) perceived need for mental health assistance and (2) help seeking.
Results: Prevalence of life-time and recent perceived need for males was 21% and 10.7%, and for females 31% and 15.1%. Of those with a perceived need, 31.4% of males and 41.6% of females had gone for help. Based on logistic regression models, the variables associated with need were being female, divorced, having a chronic physical disease, and low income (for males only), while predictors of help seeking were living in a big city and not being a recent immigrant. The major sources of help in descending order were: mental health professionals (46%), family physician (25%), family or friends (19%), and other (10%).
Conclusions: A majority of people who feel that they need help for mental health problems do not get help.
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