Mental health service use in a nationwide sample of Korean adults

Seong Jin Cho, Jun Young Lee, Jin Pyo Hong, Hochang B. Lee, Maeng Je Cho, Bong Jin Hahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Introduction: An understanding of the factors leading to the use of mental health services is important in improving access to mental health-care. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of mental health services, determinants of use and barriers to use. Methods: Data were derived from a representative sample of the general population, aged 18-64 years. The Korean version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used for the purpose of psychiatric assessment. Respondents were also asked about their use of mental health services, and about any experience of barriers to services. The response rate was 80.2%, and a total of 6,275 persons participated in the study. Results: Of the respondents who completed the interview (n = 6,275), 1.9% reported the use of mental health services during the past 12 months. Of the respondents who met the criteria for the 1-year diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder (n = 916), 6.1% received mental health-care. Age, unemployment, and medical assistance (public assistance) were correlated positively with frequency of mental health-care. Of those who suffered from a psychiatric disorder but did not seek consultation (n = 836), 23.4% said that they desired to handle the problem on their own, and 23% asserted that they had no psychiatric disorder. Conclusions: The high rate of non-consultation among those with psychiatric disorders constitutes an important public health problem. Public health efforts to narrow the gap in service delivery are crucial. Also, additional efforts are warranted to address barriers to mental health care to develop an efficient mental health-care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-951
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2009


  • Health
  • Mental
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Service
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology


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