Barriers and facilitators for treatment-seeking in adults with a depressive or anxiety disorder in a Western-European health care setting : a qualitative study


Previous research on barriers and facilitators regarding treatment-seeking of adults with depressive and anxiety disorders has been primarily conducted in the Anglosphere. This study aims to gain insight into treatment-seeking behaviour of adults with depressive and anxiety disorders in a European healthcare system.



In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 participants, aged ≥18 years and diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder according to DSM-IV. Participants were purposively sampled from an outpatient department for mental health care in the Netherlands. The seven steps of framework analysis were used to identify relevant themes emerging from the interviews.



Data analysis suggested an interplay between individual aspects, personal social system, healthcare system and sociocultural context influences. Amongst the most relevant themes were mental health illiteracy, stigma, a negative attitude toward professional help, the influence of significant others and general practitioner, and waiting time. Financial barriers were not of relevance.



Even in a country with a well-developed mental health care system and in absence of financial barriers, there are many barriers to treatment-seeking in adult patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. National campaigns to increase awareness and decrease stigma in the general population, and to empower the social environment might reduce the treatment gap.

Ruth C. Waumans, Anna D. T. Muntingh, Stasja Draisma, Klaas M. Huijbregts, Anton J. L. M. van Balkom & Neeltje M. Batelaan | 2022
In: BMC Psychiatry ; ISSN: 1471-244X | 22 | 165 | March
Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Europeans, Netherlands, PTSD (DSM-IV), Research, Treatment