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Psychological distress, mental health problems and use of health services in Ireland

The main aims of this report were to determine the socio-demographic characteristics of the Irish population who were experiencing symptoms of psyhcological distress or who had reported mental health problems in the previous year.  In addition, the report describes the use of healthcare services for mental health problems over a one-year period.  The findings were extrapolated to the general population and set against other available data relating to mental health service use in Ireland.  This information is the most comprehensive to date on the extent of psychological distress and menatl health problems in Ireland and the use of services by people seeking help with these problems.

Some of the key findings inlcude:

  • Of the respondents who reported mental health problems in the previous year, 50% were still experencing significant distress
  • The three most important predictors of psychological distress were employment status, access to free healthcare and gender
  • The three most important predictors of self-reported mental health problems in the previous year were employment, access to free healthcare and area of residence
  • Of those who reported mental health problems in the previous year, 60% had sought help from the GP
  • As expected, use of secondary mental health services was much less than the use of GP services for those with mental health problems
  • Projected figures for the total adult population in Ireland suggest that 320,381 people will attend the GP for mental health problems in a one-year period, 160,190 people will attend outpatient clinics, 51,261 will attend day centres and 19,222 will attend inpatient services.

A full copy of the report is available in the publications section of the HRB website at www.hrb.ie/publications.