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Br J Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;170:317-20.

Access to mental health care in an inner-city health district. II: Association with demographic factors.

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  • 1Academic Unit, Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust.



In addition to clinical and service factors, planners need to take account of the influence of demographic variables, especially ethnicity, on access to mental health care.


Estimated prevalence rates were calculated from epidemiological surveys undertaken in three settings: psychiatric services, primary care and the general population. Associations between demographic factors and service use were examined using the 'pathways to care' model.


Considerable differences in access to mental health care were found, particularly according to ethnicity. The major impediment to Asians accessing care occurred at the interface between primary and secondary care, whereas the most striking feature for Blacks was the poor level of case recognition by GPs.


In order to improve the uptake of mental health care, new initiatives should target those who are most likely to be unwell but least likely to access services. Purchasers and providers need to address differential patterns of use when developing and reviewing services.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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