Examination of Non-Financial Barriers and Stigma for Mental Health Care

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Advisor: M Wintersteen, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA


Mental illness is a significant issue in the United States, with 1 out of 4 adults suffering from mental health illness. While mental illness is generally thought to be influenced by sociobeconomic status and/or lifestyle choices, affluent communities with ample resources have a large number of untreated patients with diagnosed mental illness. This study queried both patients and physicians in Bucks County, an affluent suburban region within the greater Philadelphia area, to determine common attitudes and beliefs about mental illness, as well as identify barriers to care. Survey data was analyzed for patterns and trends using the SPSS statistical package. Results demonstrate that, while physicians report screening for and discussing mental illness with patients, community members express common barriers to care, such as time and cost. These issues are not discussed by healthcare providers, many of which can be addressed in the community. Overall study findings suggest that while physicians may be following generally recommended screening guidelines, they may not be adequately informed regarding barriers to care or pursuing these issues with their patients. Patients may be refusing or not understanding the importance of mental health care, and therefore not seeking treatment or dropping out of treatment too early due to time and cost issues.

Presentation: 25 minutes (Audio starts one minute into the presentation. Entire slide set is available at bottom of page)

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