Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 421–436 | Cite as

Barriers to Help Seeking for Mental Disorders in a Rural Impoverished Population

  • Jeanne C. Fox
  • Michael Blank
  • Virginia G. Rovnyak
  • Rhoneise Y. Barnett


This study examined barriers to seeking mental health care reported by individuals in a rural impoverished population, by screening 646 randomly selected adults for depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. Respondents who screened positive were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) no intervention, (2) an educational intervention alone, or (3) the educational intervention in the presence of a significant other. Those who screened positive for disorders cited barriers to care at significantly higher rates than respondents who screened negative. Respondents who received the educational intervention endorsed several barriers at significantly lower rates in the follow-up telephone call (subsequent to the intervention) than in the original interview (prior to the intervention). Virtually all respondents in a subsample of 142 subjects (99.3%) said they would seek mental health care if they thought mental health services would help them.

barriers help seeking mental disorders mental health services rural population 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanne C. Fox
    • 1
  • Michael Blank
    • 2
  • Virginia G. Rovnyak
    • 3
  • Rhoneise Y. Barnett
    • 4
  1. 1.Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research CenterUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville
  2. 2.Center for Mental Health Policy and Services ResearchUniversity of PennsylvaniaUSA
  3. 3.Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research CenterUniversity of VirginiaUSA
  4. 4.University of Virginia School of MedicineUSA

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