New ARCH Lab Paper on Physical Morbidity and Service Use in Young People

The ARCH Lab recently published a paper titled “Physical Morbidity and Mental Health Care Among Young People”. The study looked at various associations between physical conditions and mental health service use among young people.

Data came from 5,630 individuals aged 15–29 years in the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. Physical health problems were measured using a standard checklist. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed mental health and substance use problems. Additionally, individuals were asked which types of mental health care they had received in the past year.

Individuals with comorbid physical health problems had higher odds of mental health care use for those with mental and substance use problems. For mental health care, reporting needs not being met was associated with individuals with mental or substance use problems only. The likelihood of perceiving the need for and using mental health care were high in individuals with a physical comorbidity, but similar to those with mental health or substance use problems only. Young people with a physical comorbidity were less likely to report that their mental health needs are not being met compared to those with mental health or substance use problems only.

The results point to the need to better understand barriers and facilitators faced by young people with mental health or substance use problems as they navigate the health system.