Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness in Primary Care Clinics in Israel

  • Liat Ayalon
  • Khaled Karkabi
  • Igor Bleichman
  • Silvia Fleischmann
  • Margalit Goldfracht
Original Article


The present study examined physicians’ perceived barriers to the management of mental illness in primary care settings in Israel. Seven focus groups that included a total of 52 primary care Israeli physicians were conducted. Open coding analysis was employed, consisting of constant comparisons within and across interviews. Three major themes emerged: (a) barriers to the management of mental illness at the individual-level, (b) barriers to the management of mental illness at the system-level, and (c) the emotional ramifications that these barriers have on physicians. The findings highlight the parallelism between the experiences of primary care physicians and their patients. The findings also stress the need to attend to physicians’ emotional reactions when working with patients who suffer from mental illness and to better structure mental health treatment in primary care.


Depression Anxiety Primary care Anti-depressants Anti-anxiety Physicians Integrated care Psychotropic Psychotherapy 



The study was funded by The Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liat Ayalon
    • 1
  • Khaled Karkabi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Igor Bleichman
    • 4
  • Silvia Fleischmann
    • 5
  • Margalit Goldfracht
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Social WorkBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Clalit Health ServicesTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Technion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  4. 4.Medical Social Work DepartmentClalit Health ServicesTel AvivIsrael
  5. 5.Nursing DepartmentClalit Health ServicesTel AvivIsrael
  6. 6.Community DivisionHeadquarters Clalit Health Services Tel AvivIsrael

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