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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


MADIANOS, Michael G. et al. Changes in utilization of community mental health services in three boroughs of Athens (1979/1983-2000/2004). Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.4, pp.225-234. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: Several investigators reported that there is a gap between prevalence of mental disorders and utilization of mental health services. The trends in help -seeking from two Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) serving three boroughs in Athens and having identical organizational profile were examined. Method: Utilization rates were compared for the first four years of operation (1979-1983) of the first CMHC in Greece and the corresponding first years 2000-2004 of the most recent CMHC in the country. The sociodemographic characteristics of both catchment areas were almost identical. Results: In the years 2000-2003 the time of untreated mental disorders was found to be lower than that of 1979-1983. Moreover only 4.6% of clients of the first CMHC were self referred contrasting the 51.7% of their counterparts of the second Center. More than 50% of persons, who have visited the second Center reported that this Center was the first psychiatric service in their life. Additionally between the years 2000-2004, the treated prevalence of depression was found to be much higher than that in the years 1979-1983. Conclusions: Apparently these findings are probably linked with opinion changes towards psychiatry and mental illness, ability of early recognition of psychopathological symptoms, as well as, the attitudinal change in the need for help-seeking.

Keywords : Community psychiatric care; Early detection; Public attitudes; Untreated mental disorders; Help-seeking.

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