Examining the Independent Effect of Social Support on Unmet Mental Healthcare Needs Among Canadians: Findings from a Population-Based Study
Dunnen, Wendy den
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Although studies have identified social support as an important social determinant of health, few studies in Canada have actually examined the contributory role of social support in understanding access to mental healthcare services. The objective of this study was to examine the independent effect of social support on unmet mental healthcare needs among adult Canadians after taking into account predisposing, enabling, and need factors of the behavioural model of healthcare service use. This study uses data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. A sample of 3857 respondents aged 20 years and older with some form of perceived mental healthcare needs was analyzed using binary logistic regression with unmet mental healthcare needs as the outcome variable. The study found that of the 3857 respondents, close to a third (31.9 %) had unmet needs. Results from the binary logistic regression revealed that social support had a significant independent effect on unmet mental healthcare needs. For each one unit increase in social support, the odds of a respondent having unmet needs were predicted to decease by a factor of 10 % (AOR 0.90, p < .001, 95 % CI 0.89–0.92), net the effect of predisposing, enabling, and need factors. Other factors associated with having unmet mental health care needs include: younger age, income, suicidal ideation, anxiety disorder, and adverse childhood experience. It is important to develop mental healthcare policies and programs that are appropriate and meet the needs of individuals with mental health-related problems and who are without adequate social support.