Mental Disorders Among Young Adults Self-Referred and Referred by Professionals to Specialty Mental Health Care
2009 (English)In: Psychiatric Services, ISSN 1075-2730, Vol. 60, no 12, 1649-1655 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
OBJECTIVE: Psychiatric disorders among young adults are prevalent, although a minority seek treatment. The option of direct self-referral to specialty mental health care may lower the help-seeking threshold but may also lead to self-referral by those with symptoms but no diagnosable disorders. This study examined whether differences exist in morbidity and in past use of mental health services between self-referrals to specialty care and those referred by nonpsychiatrist professionals. METHODS: Two hundred consecutive young adult outpatients from a medium-sized city in Sweden who visited a specialty psychiatric clinic were assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (axis I and II disorders). Previous mental health contacts were also assessed. RESULTS: A total of 49 patients (25%) were self-referred and 151 (75%) were referred by nonpsychiatrist professionals. Mood disorders and specific phobia were more common among self-referred patients (p<.05 for both), but no other significant between-group differences in axis I or II disorders were found. No differences were found in number of current axis I disorders (2.3 for self-referred and 2.2 for the comparison group), number of lifetime diagnoses (2.9 and 2.9), self-reported age at onset (13.6 and 13.5 years), and GAF ratings (54.5 and 54.7). The proportion of patients with no previous mental health contacts was larger in the self-referred group (35% and 18%, p<.05). CONCLUSIONS: No evidence was found that the option of direct self-referral to specialty mental health care increased help seeking or led to overuse of care, although the generalizability of findings to other settings is unknown.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 60, no 12, 1649-1655 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122829DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.12.1649ISI: 000272273300013PubMedID: 19952156OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122829DiVA: diva2:311128