Perceived Need for Mental Health Care Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults


Oxford University Press


Only half of older adults with a mental disorder use mental health services, and little is known about the causes of perceived need for mental health care (MHC). We used logistic regression to examine relationships among depression, anxiety, chronic physical illness, alcohol abuse and/or dependence, sociodemographics, and perceived need among a national sample of community-dwelling individuals 65 years of age and older (the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys data set). Less than half of respondents with depression or anxiety perceived a need for care. Perceived need was greater for respondents with more symptoms of depression regardless of whether they met diagnostic criteria for a mental illness. History of chronic physical conditions, history of depression or anxiety, and more severe mental illness were associated with greater perceived need for MHC. Future studies of perceived need should account for individual perceptions of mental illness and treatment and the influence of social networks.

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