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September 1974

Community Mental Health Center AccessibilityA Survey of the Rural Poor

Author Affiliations

From the departments of psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC (Drs. Lee and Gianturco), and University of Washington, Seattle (Dr. Eisdorfer); and the Halifax County Mental Health Center, Roanoke Rapids, NC (Dr. Lee).

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.