Proportion of patients without mental disorders being treated in mental health services worldwide

Ronny Bruffaerts, Jose Posada-Villa, Ali Obaid Al-Hamzawi, Oye Gureje, Yueqin Huang, Chiyi Hu, Evelyn J. Bromet, Maria Carmen Viana, Hristo Ruskov Hinkov, Elie G. Karam, Guilherme Borges, Silvia E. Florescu, David R. Williams, Koen Demyttenaere, Viviane Kovess-Masfety, Herbert Matschinger, Daphna Levinson, Giovanni De Girolamo, Yutaka Ono, Ron De GraafMark Oakley Browne, Brendan Bunting, Miguel Xavier, Josep Maria Haro, Ronald C. Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Previous research suggests that many people receiving mental health treatment do not meet criteria for a mental disorder but are rather 'the worried well'. Aims: To examine the association of past-year mental health treatment with DSM-IV disorders. Method: The World Health Organization's World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys interviewed community samples of adults in 23 countries (n = 62 305) about DSM-IV disorders and treatment in the past 12 months for problems with emotions, alcohol or drugs. Results: Roughly half (52%) of people who received treatment met criteria for a past-year DSM-IV disorder, an additional 18% for a lifetime disorder and an additional 13% for other indicators of need (multiple subthreshold disorders, recent stressors or suicidal behaviours). Dose-response associations were found between number of indicators of need and treatment. Conclusions: The vast majority of treatment in the WMH countries goes to patients with mental disorders or other problems expected to benefit from treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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