Trends in Serious Psychological Distress and Outpatient Mental Health Care of US Adults.
ABSTRACT: Importance:Reports of a recent increase in US outpatient mental health care raise questions about whether it has been driven by rising rates of psychological distress and whether mental health treatment has become either more or less focused on people with higher levels of distress. Objective:To characterize national trends in serious psychological distress and trends in outpatient mental health service use by adults with and without serious psychological distress. Design, Setting, and Participants:The 2004-2005, 2009-2010, and 2014-2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS) were nationally representative surveys taken in US households. The analysis was limited to participants 18 years or older. Dates of this analysis were February 2018 to April 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures:Annual national trends in the percentages of adults with serious psychological distress (Kessler 6 scale score ?13), outpatient mental health service use (outpatient visit with a mental disorder diagnosis, psychotherapy visit, or psychotropic medication), and type of psychotropic medication use (antidepressants, anxiolytics/sedatives, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and stimulants). Age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios of the associations of survey period with the odds of serious psychological distress, outpatient mental health service use, and outpatient mental health service use were stratified by level of psychological distress. Results:The analysis involved 139?862 adult participants from the 2004-2005, 2009-2010, and 2014-2015 MEPS, including 51.67% women, 48.33% men, 67.11% white adults, and 32.89% nonwhite adults, with an overall mean (SE) age of 46.41 (0.14) years. Serious psychological distress declined overall from 4.82% (2004-2005) to 3.71% (2014-2015), including significant declines among young (3.94% to 3.07%), middle-aged (5.52% to 4.36%), and older adults (5.24% to 3.79%); men (3.94% to 3.09%) and women (5.64% to 4.29%); and major racial/ethnic groups (white, 4.52% to 3.82%; African American, 5.12% to 3.64%; Hispanic, 6.03% to 3.55%; and other, 5.22% to 3.26%). Overall, the percentage of adults receiving any outpatient mental health service increased from 19.08% (2004-2005) to 23.00% (2014-2015) (adjusted odds ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.17-1.34). Although the proportionate increase in outpatient mental health service use for adults with serious psychological distress (54.17% to 68.40%) was larger than that for adults with less serious or no psychological distress (17.26% to 21.08%), the absolute increase in outpatient mental health service use was almost completely the result of growth in outpatient mental health service use by individuals with less serious or no psychological distress. Conclusions and Relevance:The recent increase in outpatient mental health service use occurred during a period of decline in serious psychological distress. Adults with less serious psychological distress accounted for most of the absolute increase in outpatient mental health service use, while adults with serious psychological distress experienced a greater relative increase in outpatient mental health service use.
Project description:To determine whether trends in psychological distress exist in the United States and whether trends in healthcare expenditures and outpatient visits were associated with psychological distress.Sequential cross-sectional study of nationally representative data.We examined data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 1997 to 2004 linked to 2 years of subsequent Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data. Psychological distress was measured in the NHIS using the K6, a 6-item scale of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which we classified as no/low, mild-moderate, or severe. We examined subsequent annualized total, outpatient, and office-based expenditures, and outpatient and office-based visits from MEPS.Psychological distress remained stable from 1997 to 2004. There were upward trends in overall healthcare expenditures (P <.001) and outpatient expenditures (P <.001), but not outpatient visits. Overall healthcare expenditures, outpatient expenditures, and outpatient visits significantly increased as psychological distress increased from no/low to mild-moderate to severe. The interaction between psychological distress strata and year was not significant for expenditures or for visits.The upward trend in total and outpatient healthcare expenditures in the United States appears unrelated to psychological distress, although healthcare expenditures are consistently higher among those with greater psychological distress. Future work will explore the impact of treatment on costs and stability of the nation's mental health over time.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The transition from Medicaid-only to dual Medicare/Medicaid coverage has the potential to reduce financial barriers to health care for patients with serious mental illness through increased coverage or expanded access to clinicians as their reimbursement increases. AIMS:To estimate the effect of dual coverage after Medicaid enrollment during the required waiting period among adults with serious mental illness on health care use, overall and related to mental health and substance use disorders (MHSUD). METHODS:Data include enrollment and claims from Medicaid and Medicare in Missouri and South Carolina, from January 2004 to December 2007. We used an interrupted time-series design to estimate the effect of dual coverage on average use of outpatient, emergency department (ED), and inpatient care/month. RESULTS:After 12 months of dual coverage, the probability of outpatient care use increased in both states from 4% to 9%. In Missouri, the mean probability and frequency of ED visits, total and MHSUD related, increased by 21%-32%; the probability of all-cause and MHSUD-related inpatient admissions increased by 10% and 19%, respectively. In South Carolina, the mean probability of any inpatient admission increased by 27% and of any MHSUD-related inpatient admission by 42%. DISCUSSION:The increase in use of outpatient care is consistent with the expected increase in coverage of, and payment for, outpatient services under dual coverage relative to Medicaid-only. Sustained increases in ED and inpatient admissions raise questions regarding the complexity of obtaining care under 2 programs, pent-up demand among beneficiaries pretransition, and the complementarity of outpatient and inpatient service use.
Project description:Help seeking for online peer and other social support in response to depression and other mental health problems offers an electronic technology alternative to traditional mental health care. Here, with nationally representative samples of adult community residents in the USA, we study online peer support help seeking, estimate its occurrence, and investigate depression and other suspected predictors and correlates, some of which might prove to be causal influences.The data are from nationally representative probability sample surveys of the non-institutionalized US adult population, with a new independent sample assessed via confidential computerized self-assessment modules each year from 2004 to 2010, yielding estimates about online peer support. A total of 264,431 adults participated in these years.An estimated three per 1000 adults (0.3%) seek online peer support for mental health problems each year (95% confidence interval 0.0022-0.0036). Individuals with depression and/or serious psychological distress are strongly over-represented among these adult online peer support help seekers (odds ratio >7, p < 0.001). Associations with college education, being non-Hispanic white, being female, and age are also noteworthy (p < 0.05).Online help seeking for mental health social support is becoming frequent enough for study in large sample national surveys, and might well be fostered by active neuropsychiatric ailments such as depression or other serious psychological distress. Open questions remain about whether the result is beneficial, or conditions required for efficacious online peer support, as might be disclosed in definitive evidence from randomized controlled trials.
Project description:Background:An extensive body of research exists looking at the level of psychological distress in populations affected by political conflict. Recommended response to psychological distress in humanitarian crises is still based on frameworks for interventions developed in western/European contexts including psychological first aid, counselling and group therapy. While there is growing, but limited, evidence that culturally modified interventions can lead to reduction in symptoms of psychological distress in conflict affected populations, there is a need to understand mental health help-seeking behaviour and mental health service needs from the perspective of affected communities. Methods:This study employed a qualitative exploratory research design based on principles of grounded theory. A combination of convenience and snowball sampling was used to recruit 186 adults from the general population to 20 focus group discussions; 95 men, median age 40?years, interquartile range (IQR): 27-48?years and 91 women, median age 40?years IQR: 32-50?years. Trained Kashmiri facilitators used a semi-structured interview guide to ascertain community perceptions on mental illness, help-seeking and service needs from the perspective of communities in the Kashmir Valley. Content analysis of transcripts resulted in the identification of seven overarching themes. Results:Common locally recognized symptoms of psychological distress were synonymous with symptoms listed in the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL-25) and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Protracted political insecurity was highlighted as a major perceived cause of psychological distress in communities. Mental health help-seeking included traditional/spiritual healers in combination with practitioners of western medicine, with access highlighted as the main barrier. Divergent views were expressed on the effectiveness of treatment received. Participants' expressed the need for investment in mental health literacy to improve the community's capacity to recognize and support those suffering from psychological distress. Conclusions:Our findings demonstrate the universality of symptoms of psychological distress whilst simultaneously highlighting the importance of recognizing the cultural, spiritual and contextual framework within which psychological distress is understood and manifest. Co-constructed models of community based mental health services are needed.
Project description:To examine the effect of Medicaid expansions on health insurance coverage and access to care among low-income adults with behavioral health conditions.Nine years (2004-2012) of individual-level cross-sectional data from a restricted-access version of National Survey on Drug Use and Health.A quasi-experimental difference-in-differences design comparing outcomes among residents in 14 states that implemented Medicaid expansions for low-income adults under the Section §1115 waiver with those residing in the rest of the country.The analytic sample includes low-income adult respondents with household incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level who have a behavioral health condition: approximately 28,400 low-income adults have past-year serious psychological distress and 24,900 low-income adults have a past-year substance use disorder (SUD).Among low-income adults with behavioral health conditions, Medicaid expansions were associated with a reduction in the rate of uninsurance (p < .05), a reduction in the probability of perceiving an unmet need for mental health (MH) treatment (p < .05) and for SUD treatment (p < .05), as well as an increase in the probability of receiving MH treatment (p < .01).The ongoing implementation of Medicaid expansions has the potential to improve health insurance coverage and access to care for low-income adults with behavioral health conditions.
Project description:AIM:Individuals who have both substance use disorders and mental health problems have poorer treatment outcomes. This study examines the relationship of service utilization and 12-step participation to outcomes at 1 and 5 years for patients treated in one of two integrated service delivery systems: the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system and a health maintenance organization (HMO). METHODS:Sub-samples from each system were selected using multiple criteria indicating severity of mental health problems at admission to substance use disorder treatment (VA=401; HMO=331). Separate and multiple group structural equation model analyses used baseline characteristics, service use, and 12-step participation as predictors of substance use and mental health outcomes at 1 and 5 years following admission. RESULTS:Substance use and related problems showed stability across time, however, these relationships were stronger among VA patients. More continuing care substance use outpatient visits were associated with reductions in mental health symptoms in both groups, whereas receipt of outpatient mental health services was associated with more severe psychological symptoms. Participation in 12-step groups had a stronger effect on reducing cocaine use among VA patients, whereas it had a stronger effect on reducing alcohol use among HMO patients. More outpatient psychological services had a stronger effect on reducing alcohol use among HMO patients. CONCLUSION:Common findings across these two systems demonstrate the persistence of substance use and related psychological problems, but also show that continuing care services and participation in 12-step groups are associated with better outcomes in both systems.
Project description:Background:Over recent decades there has been considerable mental health research in Sierra Leone but little on local conceptualisations of mental health conditions. Understanding these is crucial both for identifying the experienced needs of the population and utilising relevant community-based resources to address them. This study took a grounded approach to identify the ways in which adults in Sierra Leone express psychological distress. Methods:Rapid ethnographic methods deployed included 75 case study interviews with community members, 12 key informant (KI) pile sorts and 55 KI interviews. Thematic analysis of data was supported by frequency analysis and multi-dimensional scaling. Results:Thirty signs of distress were identified. The only consistent 'syndrome' identified with respect to these was a general concept of crase, which referred to psychosis-related presentation but also a wide range of other signs of distress. We did not find consensus on locally defined concepts for mild-moderate forms of mental disorder: people use multiple overlapping signs and terms indicating psychological distress. Conclusions:Analysis supports calls to view mental health problems as a 'continuum of distress' rather than as discrete categories. This framing is coherent with opportunities for prevention and response in Sierra Leone which do not focus primarily on formal healthcare service providers but rather involve a range of community-based actors. It also enables attention to be paid to the identification of milder signs of distress with a view to early response and prevention of more severe mental health problems.
Project description:Millions of low-income Americans will gain health insurance through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This study assesses the impact of previous Medicaid expansions on mental health services utilization and out-of-pocket spending.Secondary data from the 1998-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component merged with National Health Interview Survey and state Medicaid eligibility rules data.Instrumental variables regression models were used to estimate the impact of expanded Medicaid eligibility on health insurance coverage, mental health services utilization, and out-of-pocket spending for mental health services.Person-year files were constructed including adults ages 21-64 under 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.Medicaid expansions significantly increased health insurance coverage and reduced out-of-pocket spending on mental health services for low-income adults. Effects of expanded Medicaid eligibility on out-of-pocket spending were strongest for adults with psychological distress. Expanding Medicaid eligibility did not significantly increase the use of mental health services.Previous Medicaid eligibility expansions did not substantially increase mental health service utilization, but they did reduce out-of-pocket mental health care spending.
Project description:Aims:The social environment strongly influences individual mental health. Individuals with strong social support systems tend to experience higher levels of well-being, lower levels of psychological distress and exhibit fewer psychiatric symptoms. However, there is a significant degree of individual variability as to the extent to which social support is beneficial to overall mental health. From a neurobiological perspective, it is suggested that the social hormone, oxytocin, may moderate the favorable effects of social interaction. To explore this possibility, we evaluated oxytocin genotype, social support and psychological health in a group of individuals diagnosed with DSM-IV alcohol dependence. Methods:The associations between OXT genotype, social support and psychological health were analyzed in data from 269 adults diagnosed with DSM-IV alcohol dependence (25% female) admitted into residential treatment programs and outpatient centers in Warsaw, Poland. Results:In line with past observations, we noted that psychiatric distress scores were negatively correlated with social support. Extending these observations, we uncovered a significant moderating effect of OXT genotype (rs2740210) on the relationship between social support and psychiatric distress. While G carriers displayed the predicted negative relationship between social support and psychiatric distress, T homozygotes failed to exhibit such a relationship. Conclusion:Genetically driven variation in oxytocin system functioning may influence the degree to which the beneficial effects of social support are felt in this population. These results have direct clinical relevance as enhancing social engagement to improve mental health may prove to be a less effective strategy in some patients owing to intrinsic factors. Short summary:The associations between oxytocin genotype, social support, and psychological health were analyzed in data from 269 adults diagnosed with DSM-IV alcohol dependence. A significant moderating effect of OXT genotype (rs2740210) on the relationship between social support and psychiatric distress was detected.
Project description:Introduction:Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian adolescents from remote communities attend boarding schools, requiring integrated healthcare between home and schools. This study explored students' health status, healthcare service use and satisfaction. Methodology:A two-phased mixed-methods explanatory design was implemented. 32 Indigenous primary and 188 secondary boarding school students were asked their health status, psychological distress, use of healthcare services in community and boarding school, and service satisfaction. Results were fed back to students, parents and community members, and education and healthcare staff to elicit further explanation and interpretation. Results:In the previous year, 75% of primary and 81% of secondary boarding school students had visited a doctor. More than 90% were satisfied with healthcare services used. Despite 27.1% reporting high psychological distress, students did not perceive distress as reducing their overall health, nor was distress associated with mental healthcare service use. Discussion:Despite high levels of service use and satisfaction, this study highlighted the need for improved healthcare integration for Indigenous adolescents between school-based and remote community services. Further research is needed to identify students' expectations and models for healthcare integration. Conclusion:With resourcing, schools could play a greater role in facilitating access to healthcare.