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Journal article Full text available online for free

Pathways to psychiatric care in Eastern Europe

Authors:
GATER Richard, et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 186(6), June 2005, pp.529-535.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

There has been almost no research into mental health services in Eastern Europe. A pathways study is a quick and useful starting point, requiring few resources. The aim was to improve understanding of prior care-seeking and treatment of new patients seen at mental health services. Pathways diagrams were drawn showing the routes of care-seeking for 50 new patients in eight centres. Patterns of care-seeking, durations and previous treatments were compared for ICD-10 diagnostic groups.  The diagnoses varied according to the organisation of services. Major pathways included general practitioners, direct access and hospital doctors. General practitioners have a limited role as ‘gatekeeper’ in centres in Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia-Montenegro, and rarely prescribed treatment, except sedatives, for mental disorders.  Findings highlight areas that require attention if aspirations for community-oriented mental health care are to be realised, particularly integration of mental health into primary care.

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