Rural and urban older adults perceptions of mental health services accessibility

Knight, Bob G. and Winterbotham, Sonya (2019) Rural and urban older adults perceptions of mental health services accessibility. Aging & Mental Health. pp. 1-7. ISSN 1360-7863


Abstract

Objectives: Older adults have been recognised as a group with poor access to mental health services, particularly those in rural areas. Using a decision framework of recognizing psychological problems, deciding to seek help, and choice of help, this study investigated older adults’ access to mental health services using a mixed methods design.

Methods: Ninety-four older adults from remote, regional and urban Australia returned surveys and twenty-one of them participated in focus groups and in-depth interviews. Participants were asked to identify psychological problems, the decision to seek help including perceived barriers to accessibility of mental health services, and the choice of help including their understanding of mental health disciplines and their views of service use.

Results: When regional differences appeared, inner regional older adults reported more access problems than either urban or outer regional participants. Although older adults have a good understanding of mental health disciplines and accurately identified depression and substance abuse, they had difficulty recognizing anxiety and were uncertain as to when symptom severity should indicate that one should seek help. Though stigma was largely dismissed as a thing of the past, self-sufficiency was implicated as a psychological barrier to accessibility.

Conclusion: Older adults may have difficulty in recognizing anxiety and milder levels of mental health concerns. This may be further complicated by a high value of self-sufficiency. These barriers need to be considered by all professionals working with older adults, in particular GP’s who were identified as expert health advisors.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2019 05:41
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 01:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rural older adults, mental health services, accessibility, stigma
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110308 Geriatrics and Gerontology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1576159
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35778

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