There have been traditionally low rates of health care utilization by persons with mental health issues in developed countries such as Canada due to barriers that discourage health care service use such as waitlists, long distances to health services, and stigma that can be associated with seeking help for mental health issues. This project examined barriers to mental health care using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (N = 4,134) to understand gender and income-related disparities in access to mental health care services. Data were modeled using logistic regression to determine whether gender and household income predicted experiencing barriers to care. There were significant variations in the barriers to care reported by gender and income. Both men and women from low-income (<$29,999) households were significantly more likely to report all types of barriers to care. Men were much more likely to report ‘acceptability’ barriers to care that related to their perceptions of mental health issues and usefulness of health care services, whereas women were much more likely to report availability or accessibility issues such as a lack of transportation or childcare. The findings of this study demonstrate that despite universal health insurance, there are significant inequities in access to mental health care for low-income Canadians and differences in the types of barriers to care experienced by gender.
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Slaunwhite, A.K. The Role of Gender and Income in Predicting Barriers to Mental Health Care in Canada. Community Ment Health J 51, 621–627 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-014-9814-8