Factors associated with non-initiation of mental healthcare after detection of poor mental health at a scheduled health check: A cohort study

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Introduction Poor mental health is an important public health concern, but mental health problems are often under-recognised. Providing feedback to general practitioners (GPs) on their patients' mental health status may improve the identification of cases in need of mental healthcare. Objectives To investigate the extent of initiation of mental healthcare after identification of poor mental health and to identify factors associated with non-initiation. Design Prospective cohort study with 1-year follow-up. Setting In a population-based health preventive programme, Check Your Health, we conducted a combined mental and physical health check in Randers Municipality, Denmark, in 2012-2015 in collaboration with local GPs. Participants Participants were 350 individuals aged 30-49 years old with screen-detected poor mental health who had not received mental healthcare within the past year. The cohort was derived from 14 167 randomly selected individuals of whom 52% (n=7348) participated. Mental health was assessed by the mental component summary score of the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey. Outcome The outcome was initiation of mental healthcare. Mental healthcare included psychometric testing by GP, talk therapy by GP, contact with a psychologist, contact with a psychiatrist and psychotropic medication. Results Within 1 year, 22% (95% CI 18 to 27) of individuals with screen-detected poor mental health initiated mental healthcare. Among individuals who initiated mental healthcare within follow-up, one in six had visited their GP once or less in the preceding year. Male sex (OR: 0.49 (95% CI 0.28 to 0.86)) and less impaired mental health (OR: 0.93 (95% CI 0.89 to 0.98)) were associated with non-initiation of mental healthcare. We found no overall association between socioeconomic factors and initiating mental healthcare. Conclusion Systematic provision of mental health test results to GPs may improve the identification of cases in need of mental healthcare, but does not translate into initiation of mental healthcare. Further research should focus on methods to improve initiation of mental healthcare, especially among men. Trial registration number NCT02028195.

TidsskriftBMJ Open
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2020

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