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Use of mental health services by women in low and middle income countries

Christine Paula de los Angeles (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization – Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
William Watkins Lewis (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization – Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
Ryan McBain (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization – Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
Mohammad Taghi Yasamy (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization – Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)
Adepeju Aderemi Olukoya (Department of Women, Gender, and Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland)
Jodi Morris (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 9 December 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine sex differences in mental health service usage among upper-middle, lower-middle, and low-income countries (LICs).

Design/methodology/approach

Data from 62 low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs) were collected with the World Health Organization – Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS). Sex differences in mental health service utilization were assessed by comparing the proportion female in the general population with the proportion female treated for mental illness in five different types of mental health facility.

Findings

Two-sided t-tests for significance (a=0.05) revealed a significant difference between the proportion female in the population and the proportion treated in inpatient facilities (community-based and mental hospitals) in LICs. There was also a trend toward decreased use of outpatient facilities by women in LICs (p=0.08). Lower-middle and upper-middle income countries showed no differences. In day treatment facilities for the entire sample, there was a significant difference between the proportion female in the population and the proportion treated female (weighted mean difference overall=0.10, p=0.035).

Research limitations/implications

The authors found significantly reduced utilization of mental health services by women in LICs in community-based inpatient facilities and mental hospitals and a trend toward decreased use in outpatient facilities. Future studies investigating the factors contributing to the lower utilization of services by women in LICs are essential.

Originality/value

This study presents the first comprehensive study of mental health service usage by sex in 62 LAMICs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Christine Paula de los Angeles and William Watkins Lewis contributed equally to the work.

Citation

Paula de los Angeles, C., Watkins Lewis, W., McBain, R., Taghi Yasamy, M., Aderemi Olukoya, A. and Morris, J. (2014), "Use of mental health services by women in low and middle income countries", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 211-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-10-2012-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited