Filters on the pathway to care and service use Filter permeability and service use

The majority of people in psychological distress never present to formal health services. If formal help is sought, the likelihood of receiving such help is influenced by the permeability of a number of filters (see Chapte.r.7..8.). For example, once the decision to seek formal help is taken, actual receipt of help depends on the ability of the professional at the first port of call (usually primary care services not specialized in mental health) to recognize the presence of mental disorder. The permeability of subsequent filters determines the rate with which patients move from primary care service to specialist mental health outpatient services, and from specialist outpatient to hospital-based psychiatric services.

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