Document Type


Source Publication Title

Psychiatric Services


Objective: The study examined use of mental health services among three groups of young adults with assessed need – those who did not perceive a need for treatment, those who reported they needed treatment and did not get it (unmet need), and those who received treatment. Methods: Data were compiled from six years of the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (2008-2013). Those who met criteria for serious mental distress on the Kessler 6 scale were included in the current study. Young adults (18-25) were compared to middle adults (26-34) across the three perceived need/treatment groups. Within young adults, predictors of membership in each of the three groups were examined using multinomial logistic regression. Results: Young adults had lower rates of treatment (33.2% vs. 45.8%) and higher rates of unperceived need for treatment (51.0% vs. 40.1%) compared to those ages 26-34 but similar rates of unmet need. White young adults were more likely to perceive a need for treatment and to receive treatment compared to other racial groups. Men were less likely to perceive need but equally likely to receive treatment once need was perceived. Higher education level and having health insurance were also associated with receiving treatment. Conclusions: Lack of perception that mental health treatment is needed contributes to lower rates of treatment among young adults. Future efforts to increase service utilization should work to raise awareness of the need for mental health treatment in addition to easing barriers such as lack of insurance. [This is an original manuscript / preprint of an article published by American Psychiatric Publishing in Psychiatric Services on March 15, 2016, available online:]


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work

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Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000

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Social Work Commons