Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Reid, Graham J.

Abstract

Mental disorders among youth (age 12 to 17) and emerging adults (18 to 24) in Canada are common, but few receive mental health (MH) services. We examined trends in patterns and predictors of MH service use in this population. Secondary data analyses were conducted on six cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2011 to 2016). From 2011 to 2016, the prevalence of MH service use increased by 4.3%. In 2016, 85.1% of those with poor self-rated MH accessed services, greater than in previous years; however, this subgroup represents only 1% of the total population. Psychiatrists had the largest provider caseload; social workers had the smallest. Sex, ethnicity, self-rated MH status, and mood or anxiety disorder consistently predicted likelihood of MH service use across time. The increased patterns of MH service use and variation in predictors of service use highlight the need for an effective and equitable mental healthcare system.

Summary for Lay Audience

Mental disorders among youth (age 12 to 17) and emerging adults (18 to 24) in Canada are common but few people from this age group receive mental health (MH) services. We examined trends in patterns and predictors of MH service use in this population. We used data from six cycles of the annual Canadian Community Health Survey collected by Statistics Canada from 2011 to 2016. We examined trends in the rate of MH service use, self-rated MH, and type of health provider (HP) contacted among the youth and emerging adult population. We found that the percentage of the population that used MH services increased by 4.3% from 2011 to 2016. However, the percentage of the population who perceived their MH as fair or poor also increased across time by 2.7% and 0.5%, respectively. While 85.1% of people who perceived their MH as poor accessed services in 2016, a proportion greater than in previous years, this only reflected 1% of the total population. Psychiatrists saw the greatest number of service users when compared to number of available providers in 2011 and 2016. Social workers saw the smallest number of service users compared to available providers but had the largest increase in number of available social workers (42.8%) from 2011 to 2016. There is a discrepancy between the providers who see the most MH users (i.e., psychiatrists) and the providers with the greatest increase in provider availability (i.e., social workers) from 2011 to 2016. Further, an investigation of predictors of MH service use revealed that females were more likely to use MH services than males and Caucasians were more likely to use services compared to Asian individuals in all years. These demographic differences between people who were likely to use MH services highlight the need for an equitable mental healthcare system. Need for MH services based on perceived mental health, stress, and diagnosis of a mood or anxiety disorder, increased likelihood of receiving MH services in most years. Trends in patterns and predictors of service use reported in this project may inform investments towards creating an effective and accessible mental healthcare system.

Available for download on Sunday, December 31, 2023

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