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Title: Preference, need and utilization of mental health services, Singapore National Mental Health Survey
Authors: Ng, T.P. 
Leng Fones, C.S.
Kua, E.H. 
Keywords: Epidemiology
Health service utilization
Psychiatric services
Issue Date: Oct-2003
Citation: Ng, T.P., Leng Fones, C.S., Kua, E.H. (2003-10). Preference, need and utilization of mental health services, Singapore National Mental Health Survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 37 (5) : 613-619. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Objective: To ascertain the extent of the community's preference, needs for and utilization of mental health services, and their socio-demographic determinants in the multi-ethnic Asian community in Singapore. The extent to which need, enabling and predisposing factors determine the likelihood to seek professional help was also examined. Method: Data were analyzed from the Singapore National Mental Health Survey of 1996, based on a stratified random sample of 2947 Chinese, Malay and Indian subjects of the general population aged 13-64 years. Results: An estimated 37% of the general population indicated they would seek professional help if they experienced a serious emotional or mental problem. Although 16.9% were determined by their high general health questionnaire (GHQ) score to need mental health services, only 2.6% in the population used the services of any professional caregiver. Among persons with high GHQ scores, only 5.9% sought any professional help. Among those with a high GHQ score and who were receptive to professional help, only 10.4% actually sought professional help. General practitioners were the most commonly preferred caregiver (49.3%), and were used by 41.1% of those who sought help. Those who sought professional help were more likely to have a high GHQ score and to be inclined to seek professional help. Malays used mental health services more than Chinese, but they did not show a significantly greater prevalence of high GHQ scores, or a greater preference to seek professional help. Receptivity to professional help, high GHQ score, and Malay ethnicity were independent significant predictors of use of mental health service. Conclusion: Need and attitudinal factors predict mental health service utilization, but they still do not explain why a large majority of the population chose not to use mental health services.
Source Title: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN: 00048674
DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2003.01233.x
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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