Background: The high prevalence of mental disorders has fuelled controversy about the need for mental health services. Aims: To estimate unmet need for mental healthcare at the population level in Europe. Method: As part of the European Study of Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project, a cross-sectional survey was conducted of representative samples of the adult general population of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain (n=8796). Mental disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. Individuals with a 12-month mental disorder that was disabling or that had led to use of services in the previous 12 months were considered in need of care. Results: About six per cent of the sample was defined as being in need of mental healthcare. Nearly half (48%) of these participants reported no formal healthcare use. In contrast, only 8% of the people with diabetes had reported no use of services for their physical condition. In total, 3.1% of the adult population had an unmet need for mental healthcare. About 13% of visits to formal health services were made by individuals without any mental morbidity. Conclusions: There is a high unmet need for mental care in Europe, which may not be eliminated simply by reallocating existing healthcare resources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health