Objective: This study analyzed use of services from psychiatrists and other mental health professionals (psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, and social workers) in six European countries. Methods: Data were from respondents (N=8,796) to the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD), a cross-sectional survey (2001-2003) of a representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain that was conducted via computer-assisted interviews with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0. Results: Twenty-three percent of respondents reported lifetime use of any professional for mental health problems, and 60% consulted a mental health provider. Among these, 56% used a psychiatrist and 68% used a nonpsychiatrist provider. Factors associated with use of psychiatrists only were being retired or unemployed, having 12 or fewer years of education, living in France or Spain, having a severe disorder, and using psychotropic medication. Factors associated with use of nonpsychiatrist providers only were living in the Netherlands or Germany, never being married, and having an anxiety disorder. Conclusions: The findings suggest that there is no simple model of associations between mental health care system and patterns of service use. System characteristics, such as practitioner-population ratios, levels of practitioner availability, and gatekeeping and reimbursement policies, affect patterns of use of mental health providers. Recent British and Australian plans could be used as models for better allocation of services in some ESEMeD countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health