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Psychiatr Serv. 2014 Jun 1;65(6):826-9. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300301.

Predictors of unmet need for medical care among justice-involved persons with mental illness.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This cross-sectional study examined factors associated with unmet need for care from primary care physicians or from psychiatrists among clients enrolled in mental health court support programs in Toronto, Ontario.

METHODS:

The sample included adults admitted to these programs during 2009 (N=994). Both measures of unmet need were determined by mental health court workers at program intake. Predictors included client predisposing, clinical, and enabling variables.

RESULTS:

Twelve percent had unmet need for care from primary care physicians and 34% from psychiatrists. Both measures of unmet need were associated with having an unknown diagnosis, having no income source or receiving welfare, homelessness, and not having a case manager. Unmet need for care from psychiatrists was associated with symptoms of serious mental illness and current hospitalization.

CONCLUSIONS:

Obtaining care from psychiatrists appears to be a particular challenge for justice-involved persons with mental illness. Policies and practices that improve access warrant more attention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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