Attitudinal and demographic factors associated with seeking help and receiving antidepressant medication for symptoms of common mental disorder
BackgroundDespite the increased attention given to improvement of mental health-related knowledge and attitudes, rates of help-seeking for mental illness remain low even in countries with well-developed mental health services. This study examines the relationships between attitudes to mental illness, symptoms of common mental disorder and seeking-help and receiving medication for a mental health problem. Methods: We used data from the nationally representative Health Survey for England 2014 to
... esign three logistic regression models to test for the effects of attitudes to mental illness (measured by the Community Attitude to Mental Illness, CAMI scale) on: recent contact with a doctor for a mental health problem; use of any type of mental health service in the last 12 months; and having antidepressants currently prescribed, while controlling for symptoms of common mental disorder (measured by the General Health Questionnaire, GHQ). We also tested for an interaction between attitudes to mental illness and symptoms of common mental disorder on the outcomes. Results: A significant but very small effect of CAMI score was found on 'antidepressants currently prescribed' model (OR = 1.01(1.00, 1.02) but not on the two indicators of help-seeking. We also found a significant but very small interaction between CAMI and GHQ scores on recent contact with a doctor (OR = 0.99, 95% CI (0.990, 0.998); adjusted Wald test P = 0.01)). Knowing someone with a mental illness had a significant positive effect on help-seeking indicated by: (a) recent contact with a doctor (2.65 (1.01, 6.98)) and (b) currently prescribed antidepressant (2.67 (1.9, 3.75)) after controlling for attitudes to mental illness.ConclusionsOur results suggest that knowing someone with a mental health problem seems to have a further positive effect on help-seeking, beyond improving attitudes to mental illness. Furthermore, multiple different types and aspects of stigma may contribute to help-seeking behaviours, consequently multi-faceted approaches are likely to be most efficient.