Sociodemographic determinants of attitudinal barriers in the use of mental health services in Japan: Findings from the World Mental Health Japan Survey 2002–2006

Authors

  • Yoshifumi Kido RN, MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, St. Luke's College of Nursing, Tokyo, Japan
    • Department of Psychiatric Nursing, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Norito Kawakami MD,

    1. Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
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  • WHO World Mental Health Japan Survey Group


Correspondence: Yoshifumi Kido, RN, MS, Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. Email: yoshifumi-tky@umin.ac.jp

Abstract

Aim

Sociodemographic correlates of Japanese attitudinal barriers to mental health services might be different from previous studies in Western countries, reflecting a different culture. We investigated sociodemographic correlates of attitudinal barriers to mental health services in a community population in Japan, based on data collected in the World Mental Health Survey Japan surveys.

Methods

An interview survey was conducted of a random sample of residents living in 11 communities across Japan during 2002–2006. A total of 1359 participants were analyzed. The variables on attitudinal barriers to mental health services were measured by using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. The association between these variables and sociodemographic variables were analyzed by using multiple logistic regressions.

Results

Being male was significantly associated with willingness to go for professional help and feeling comfortable to talk with a professional. Compared to the youngest group (20–34 years old), those aged from 35 to 49 years had a significantly lower prevalence of feeling embarrassed about friends knowing about their getting professional help, while the oldest group (aged over 65 years) had a significantly higher prevalence of being embarrassed. Being currently married was significantly associated with higher expectations about mental health services, but it was significantly and negatively associated with willingness to go for professional help.

Conclusion

These results suggest that demographic patterns of attitudinal barriers to mental health services in Japan are unique, compared with previous studies in Western countries. An anti-stigma campaign may need to consider such country-specific patterns in a particular country.

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