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Understanding factors related to poor quality of life (QoL) and self-rated health (SRH) in clinical high-risk (CHR) for psychosis is important for both research and clinical applications. We investigated the associations of both constructs with CHR symptoms, axis-I disorders, and sociodemographic variables in a community sample.
In total, 2683 (baseline) and 829 (3-year follow-up) individuals of the Swiss Canton of Bern (age-at-baseline: 16–40 years) were interviewed by telephone regarding CHR symptoms, using the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument for basic symptoms, the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes for ultra-high risk (UHR) symptoms, the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for current axis-I disorders, the Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale for QoL, and the 3-level EQ-5D for SRH.
In cross-sectional structural equation modelling, lower SRH was exclusively significantly associated with higher age, male gender, lower education, and somatoform disorders. Poor QoL was exclusively associated only with eating disorders. In addition, both strongly interrelated constructs were each associated with affective, and anxiety disorders, UHR and, more strongly, basic symptoms. Prospectively, lower SRH was predicted by lower education and anxiety disorders at baseline, while poorer QoL was predicted by affective disorders at baseline.
When present, CHR, in particular basic symptoms are already distressful for individuals of the community and associated with poorer subjective QoL and health. Therefore, the symptoms are clinically relevant by themselves, even when criteria for a CHR state are not fulfilled. Yet, unlike affective and anxiety disorders, CHR symptoms seem to have no long-term influence on QoL and SRH.
Absent or delayed help-seeking is considered to aggravate the immense personal and societal burden caused by mental disorders. Therefore, we cross-sectionally examined rates and clinical and sociodemographic moderators of early help-seeking for current clinician-assessed non-psychotic mental problems/disorders in the community.
Altogether, 2683 individuals of the Swiss Canton Bern (16–40 years old, response rate 63.4%) were interviewed by telephone for current axis-I problems/disorders using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, for psychosocial functioning using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale, and for help-seeking for mental problems.
In total, 1122 (41.8%) reported mental problems. Of these, 769 (68.5%) affirmed any one screening question and 353 (31.5%) fulfilled criteria for any current axis-I disorder, and 396 (35.3%) reported any lifetime help-seeking (28.3% sought help in the past and 7.0% were in current treatment). In path analyses, current help-seeking was associated mainly by type and number of mental problems/disorders mediated by functional impairment, in addition to older age, no current partner, and past treatment.
Our cross-sectional data indicate a gap in help-seeking for mental problems/disorders. The relationship between number of mental problems/disorders and help-seeking mediated by functional impairment confirm that individuals commonly do not seek help until problems are severe enough to cause problems in occupational and psychosocial functioning, driving the already immense costs of mental disorders. Thus, campaigns promoting early help-seeking, including early diagnostic clarification of and support for subthreshold mental problems in terms of an indicated prevention, should focus on psychosocial functioning, aside from signs of mental illness.
Mental disorders create high individual and societal costs and burden, partly because help-seeking is often delayed or completely avoided. Stigma related to mental disorders or mental health services is regarded as a main reason for insufficient help-seeking.
To estimate the impact of four stigma types (help-seeking attitudes and personal, self and perceived public stigma) on active help-seeking in the general population.
A systematic review of three electronic databases was followed by random effect meta-analyses according to the stigma types.
Twenty-seven studies fulfilled eligibility criteria. Participants' own negative attitudes towards mental health help-seeking (OR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.73–0.88) and their stigmatising attitudes towards people with a mental illness (OR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.98) were associated with less active help-seeking. Self-stigma showed insignificant association (OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.76–1.03), whereas perceived public stigma was not associated.
Personal attitudes towards mental illness or help-seeking are associated with active help-seeking for mental problems. Campaigns promoting help-seeking and fighting mental illness-related stigma should target these personal attitudes rather than broad public opinion.
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