Physical Morbidity and Mental Health Care Among Young People
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PURPOSE: This epidemiological study examined associations between morbidity status and mental health care use among young people. METHODS: Data come from individuals aged 15-29 years (n = 5,630) in the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (2012). Physical health problems were measured using a standard checklist. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed 12-month mental health and substance use problems. Individuals were asked which types of mental health care they had received in the past year. Logistic, ordinal, and multinomial regression models were computed and the method of variance estimates recovery was used to compare estimates. RESULTS: Individuals with comorbid physical health problems had higher odds of mental health care use for those with mental (odds ratio [OR] = 12.54 [7.07, 22.25]) and substance use problems (OR = 2.97 [1.75, 5.05]). While these estimates were higher than for individuals without physical comorbidity, differences were not statistically significant. For mental health care needs not being met, associations were found for individuals with mental (OR = 2.56 [1.24, 5.26]) or substance use problems only (OR = 2.48 [1.06, 5.82]). CONCLUSIONS: Odds of perceiving the need for and using mental health care were high in individuals with a physical comorbidity, but similar to those with mental health or substance use problems only. Young people with a physical comorbidity were less likely to report that their mental health needs are not being met compared to those with mental health or substance use problems only. Research is needed to understand barriers and facilitators faced by young people with mental health or substance use problems as they navigate the health system.
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