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Many Patients' Mental Health Needs Unmet Worldwide

Service usage is lowest in developing nations, but adequate service is also low in the United States

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patient usage of mental health services for anxiety, mood and substance use disorders is low worldwide, especially in less-developed countries, researchers report in the Sept. 8 issue of The Lancet. Delivery of adequate service is also low in many countries worldwide, including the United States.

Philip S. Wang, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health Division of Services and Intervention Research in Rockville, Md., and colleagues analyzed face-to-face survey data on 84,850 adults living in 17 countries.

The researchers found that usage rates ranged from a high of 18 percent in the United States to 11 percent in France and a low of 1.6 percent in Nigeria. Although they found that rates of adequate service -- which they defined as at least eight visits to any service sector, or being in ongoing treatment at the time of the interview, or receiving a medication for at least one month with four or more visits to a medical professional over a 12-month period -- were lowest in less-developed countries, they also found that the U.S. rate (18 percent) was significantly lower than in other developed countries such as Japan (32 percent), and France and Germany (43 percent each).

"Alleviation of these unmet needs will require expansion and optimum allocation of treatment resources," the authors conclude.

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