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September 1974

Community Mental Health Center Accessibility: A Survey of the Rural Poor

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(3):335-339. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760150049007

A total of 223 households were surveyed, including 70% from low social classes. There was a high prevalence of "mental health problems," yet a majority of the persons affected sought no help. Very few people considered the mental health center as a resource and local physicians were the overwhelming choice for those who would seek help.

A large percentage of lower-class people did know the purpose of the clinic but saw mental health problems in a pejorative fashion. Fear of being identified as mentally ill was an effective barrier to seeking services. The findings suggest that long-term community education, idigenous workers, and back-up services to local physicians would facilitate mental health service to the community.