Selection into mental health services among persons with depression

Sirry Alang, Donna McAlpine, Ellen McCreedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aimed to identify sociodemographic and health characteristics associated with use of different mental health services (medication only, counseling only, or both) among persons with depression. Methods: The analytic sample consisted of adults who had a major depressive episode in the past year and received outpatient professional mental health services (N=4,169). Multinomial logistic regressions were computed with data from the 2015 and 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to identify factors associated with the relative odds of receiving each modality of mental health service. Results: Sixty-nine percent of the sample received both prescription medication and counseling (talking to a professional health care provider about depression), 22% received counseling only, and 9% received medication only. Being ordered into care and higher probability of having a severe mental illness were associated with higher odds of receiving both medication and counseling. Conclusions: How people with depression enter care and select into different mental health service modalities might be an indicator of access. Factors that affect selection into these modalities might also be associated with outcomes of care. Findings could inform efforts to remove modality-specific barriers to treatment, improve timely access to care, and reduce unmet need for mental health care among persons with depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-592
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020

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© 2020 American Psychiatric Association. All rights reserved.

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  • Journal Article


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