Many M.D. Visits are Mental Health Related
Psychology Facts & Figures
Information Gap

Physician-Psychologist Collaboration




Many M.D. Visits are Mental Health Related

Only 5% of those suffering from a mental disorder see a mental health professional;
the other 95% receive treatment from a family physician. Lechnyr, R. (1993). The cost savings of mental health services. EAP Digest. 22.

"Between 11-36% of all general care physician visits involved patients with diagnosable psychiatric disorders." Eisenberg, L. (1992). Treating depression and anxiety in primary care. New England Journal of Medicine. 326. 1080- 1083.

"Many patients with mental health problems are treated in ordinary health care services. They are often multi-users of care." Borgquist, L., Hansson, L., Undelow. G., Nettelbladt, P., & Nordstrom, G. (1993). Perceived health and high consumers of care: A study of mental health problems in a Swedish health care district. Psvcholoeical Medicine. 23, 763-70.

Studies have shown that those persons not receiving mental health services visited a medical doctor twice as often for unnecessary care than persons who receive treatment. Lechnyr, R. (1992). Cost savings and effectiveness of mental health services. Journal of the Oregon Psychological Association. 38, 8-12.

Concluding a systematic review of the scientific literature regarding mental health in primary care settings, one researcher calculated primary care utilization differences. He reported that patients with diagnosable mental disorders average twice as many visits to their primary care physicians as those without a
mental disorder. Borus, J.F. & Olendzki, M.C. (1985). The offset effect of mental health treatment on ambulatory medical care utilization and charges. Archives of General Psychiatry. 42, 573-580.

The Group Health Association found that patients receiving mental health counseling trimmed their non-psychiatric usage by 30.7% and their use of laboratory and x-ray services by 29.8%. Kansas City Health Care Consumer. Feb., 1993




FACT. A three-year study conducted by a large corporation showed that 60 percent of employee absences were due to psychological problems such as stress.

FACT The annual cost of depression surpasses that of heart disease, affecting about 11 million
Americans each year at a cost of $43.7 billion -- over half of which comes from
absenteeism and lost productivity at work.

FACT Depression is experienced by nearly 8 million Americans in any one-month period. Minor
depression, which affects even more people, may account for 51 percent more disability
days than major depression.

FACT. Forty-eight percent of all Americans between the ages of 15 and 54 experience a
psychological problem during their lifetime. As a matter of fact, one in four suffers a
problem in any given year. Of these individuals, only 28 percent seek help.

FACT: Research estimates that between 50 and 70 percent of all visits to primary care physicians
are by individuals who have no identifiable physical illness but whose complaints are
related to psychological factors. In fact, anxiety and depression are among the six most
common conditions seen in family practice.

FACT. Seventy percent of Americans consider access to psychological services to be very
important, but only 35 percent believe they have adequate access.

FACT. Sixty-four percent of Americans believe that people should seek professional help when
they have an emotional problem they can't solve.

FACT Forty-seven percent of Americans do not know when it would be appropriate to seek
psychological services, and 68 percent do know how to go about seeking help when they
do need it.


Psychological Help
"Information Gap"

Don't know enough about
when to seek help


Don't know how to go about 
finding the right help


Source: American Psychological Association







American would be more inclined to select a physician who works with a psychologist

Source: American Psychological Association





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