Psychological Distress, Unmet Need, and Barriers to Mental Health Care for Women

Published in: Women's Health Issues, v. 11, no. 3, May-Jun. 2001, p. 231-243

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2001

by Cathy D. Sherbourne, Megan Dwight-Johnson, Ruth Klap

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Using data from the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women's Health, this article describes the characteristics of women in need of mental health services for depression or anxiety, and identifies factors related to why women do not get needed care. Depressive/anxiety symptoms are common and access to care for psychological distress remains a problem for many women, especially for minorities, those with less education, and those without a usual source of health care. Sources of unmet need include patient factors, clinician factors, and characteristics of the health system, such as costs of mental health care.

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