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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Delay of First Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders in Mexico

September 2007, Vol 97, No. 9 | American Journal of Public Health 1638-1643

We studied failure and delay in making initial treatment contact after the first onset of a mental or substance use disorder in Mexico as a first step to understanding barriers to providing effective treatment in Mexico.

Many people with lifetime disorders eventually made treatment contact, although the proportions varied for mood (69.9%), anxiety (53.2%), and substance use (22.1%) disorders. Delays were long: 10 years for substance use disorders, 14 years for mood disorders, and 30 years for anxiety disorders. Failure and delay in making initial treatment contact were associated with earlier ages of disorder onset and being in older cohorts.

Failure to make prompt initial treatment contact is an important reason explaining why there are unmet needs for mental health care in Mexico. Meeting these needs will likely require expansion and optimal allocation of resources as well as other interventions.

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