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07.02.2018 | Ausgabe 3/2019

Prevention Science 3/2019

Young Adult Mental Health: a Prospective Examination of Service Utilization, Perceived Unmet Service Needs, Attitudes, and Barriers to Service Use

Zeitschrift:
Prevention Science > Ausgabe 3/2019
Autoren:
Jennifer M. Cadigan, Christine M. Lee, Mary E. Larimer

Abstract

Most young adults with mental health symptoms do not receive treatment or access services. It remains important to identify barriers to service utilization to improve access to care. The current study was a prospective analysis examining predictors of (a) mental health service utilization and (b) perceived unmet need for mental health services. Barriers to service utilization were examined by prior depression severity status and college student status. Participants included a subsample of young adults ages 18–23 at time of recruitment who were participating in a longitudinal monthly study who completed both baseline and a 15-month follow-up assessment (N = 622, 80% of larger study). At month 15, 23% of young adults reported receiving mental health services in the past 12 months; 26% of young adults reported a perceived unmet need for mental health services at some point in the past 12 months. There were differences in demographic and mental health predictors of service utilization and perceived unmet need for services. Women, sexual minorities, those with moderate depression, those with more impairment from depression, and perceived past year poor mental health were associated with greater likelihood of receiving services. Similar demographic characteristics were associated with greater likelihood of perceiving unmet need for services. Barriers to service utilization differed by severity of depression symptoms and student status. Young adults have distinct reasons for not accessing mental health services; addressing these to improve accessibility to care remains critical.

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