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Querying Firearm Access on Mental Health Questionnaire Feasible

Most patients who saw primary care clinician, mental health specialty clinician answered question about firearm access

psychiatrist and patient

FRIDAY, Aug. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients completing a mental health monitoring questionnaire answer a question about firearm access, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in JAMA Health Forum.

Julie E. Richards, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined whether and how patients self-report firearm access information on routine mental health monitoring questionnaires and examined sociodemographic and clinical correlates of access in a cross-sectional study. Data were included for 128,802 patients who completed a mental health monitoring questionnaire after a single question about firearm access was added, from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2019.

The researchers found that 74.4 and 39.3 percent of the patients who completed a mental health monitoring questionnaire saw a primary care clinician and a mental health specialty clinician, respectively. The primary care and mental health samples were both mainly female (64.9 and 63.1 percent, respectively) and White (77.0 and 75.7 percent, respectively); mean age was 51.1 and 42.8 years, respectively. Overall, 83.4 percent of the patients who saw a primary care clinician answered the question about firearm access, and of these patients, 20.9 percent reported having access. In the mental health sample, 91.8 percent answered the question, and of these, 15.3 percent reported access.

"This research demonstrated that including a standard question about firearm access on a mental health monitoring questionnaire was feasible," the authors write. "Patients answered and reported access."

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