• The Effects of Stigma Toward Mental Illness on Family Physicians

      Sipe, Michelle; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Goto, Kristine (The University of Arizona., 2016-03-25)
      Many individuals utilize primary care as their main source of mental health care, as in many areas of the US access to specialized psychiatric care does not meet the demand. Prior research has showed that many healthcare practitioners, including those working in generalist fields, carry stigmatized views about individuals with mental illness. Such stigmatized views can result in misattribution of symptoms to mental illness and a decline in proper diagnosis and treatment. Our study aims to examine if stigmatized views about mental illness relate to family medicine physicians’ comfort levels with treating mental illness, patterns of referral to psychiatrists, or amount of continuing medical education on psychiatric issues. Our hypothesis is that family medicine physicians who carry less stigmatized views will be more comfortable and up to date with psychiatric care practices and less likely to refer mental health issues to specialized mental health services. Methods: We administered an email survey to family medicine physicians via the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians monthly electronic newsletter. The survey contained demographic questions, a short (5‐question) validated stigma questionnaire (Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaire or AMIQ), and questions regarding self‐stated comfort level with mental illness, amount of recent mental‐health CME, and likelihood of referral for various mental illnesses. Results: AMIQ stigma ratings and referral rates for anxiety were significantly related (p=.012), as were AMIQ stigma ratings and amount of mental health CME (p=.001). Other trends were discovered, but were not significant. Impact: These results further demonstrate the need for increased emphasis on psychosocial and psychiatric issues, particularly stigma reduction, in family medicine residency training and CME. If family medicine physicians with high levels of stigma are less likely to treat mentally ill patients or seek further education regarding psychiatric issues, it could disrupt their patients’ quality, cost, and continuity of care.
    • Healthcare Access among Adults with Frequent Mental Distress

      Khan, Khalid Salim; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Hussaini, Khaleel; Rahman, Shakaib; Shennib, Hani (The University of Arizona., 2016-05-04)
      Objective: Mental health plays a central role in the well‐being of individuals. Understanding the factors that influence mental wellness is critical in order to develop effective policy that addresses the burden of mental illness in society. The objective of this study is to identify a possible relationship between healthcare access and the presence of mental distress in individuals. Methods: Logistic regression was performed using cross sectional data from a CDC developed nationwide behavioral health surveillance program (BRFSS, 2013‐4). Odds ratios were estimated using frequent mental distress as the outcome of interest while adjusting for confounding variables such as smoking, binge drinking, obesity, etc. Six models were estimated utilizing our hypothesized variables of interest. Results: The calculated adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and confidence intervals (CI) demonstrated a positive correlation between certain variables measuring access to healthcare and the reporting of frequent mental distress, agreeing with the hypothesis. Those variables were financial cost preventing access to medical care (AOR [2], CI [1.9‐2.1]) as well as a span of more than 2 years having elapsed since a routine medical checkup by a healthcare provider (AOR [1.1], CI [1.1‐ 1.2]). The opposite effect was demonstrated in individuals who had no insurance coverage (AOR [.8], CI [.7‐.9]), which was contrary to the hypothesis. Conclusion: After adjusting for confounding variables, a strong relationship exists between individuals who are not able to see a physician due to cost, and the presence of frequent mental distress. Frequent mental distress is also increased in individuals who have not had a routine medical checkup with a physician in the last 2 years.