Academic journal article The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences

Twelve-Month Service Utilization Rates for Mental Health Reasons: Data from the Israel National Health Survey

Academic journal article The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences

Twelve-Month Service Utilization Rates for Mental Health Reasons: Data from the Israel National Health Survey

Article excerpt

Abstract: Objective: To measure the 12-month utilization rates for mental health reasons in all types of services. Method: A representative sample extracted from the National Population Register of non-institutionalized residents aged 21 or older were interviewed at their homes between May 2003 and April 2004. DSM-IV disorders were assessed using a revised version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI). Results: About 10% of the adult population receives some type of treatment for emotional or mental health problems within a single year. More than half of service consumers were not classified as suffering from mood or anxiety disorders. Of those diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders in the past 12 months only about 50% used any type of service for mental health problems. Conclusion: There is only a partial overlap between those who utilize the services and those who meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of mental disorder.


The Israel National Health Survey (INHS) is the first general population survey in Israel designed to provide a full picture of the utilization of mental health services, general health services and other services by individuals with mental problems.

Until now, information on the utilization of services for mental health reasons in Israel has been limited to the population treated by the specialist services, such as the survey conducted in 1986 (1). That study showed that about 2% of the population used specialist mental health services during a single year, and that about one-third of the consumers each year belong to the group with "severe and protracted mental illness" (SMI), which is estimated at 1.2% of the entire adult population (2). That survey led to the assumption that in Israel, as in other western countries (3-5), most people with common mental health problems, such as anxiety or mood disorders, do not receive help from the public specialist services.

Our survey was designed to estimate the size of the population using any type of health, welfare or traditional services for the treatment of emotional or mental problems. This estimate is of topical interest because in Israel mental health care is about to be included in the mandatory basket of services provided to all residents by the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) (6).

The study objectives were to establish the 12-month utilization rates of all types of services for mental health reasons, to estimate the extent to which mental health professionals are consulted by individuals with severe disorders, and to compare the results with those obtained in other countries participating in the WHO/ World Mental Health (WHO/WMH) Survey (7).


The Israeli survey followed the procedures established by the WHO/WMH Survey (8). The sample (see Levinson et al. in this issue) was extracted from the National Population Register (NPR) and comprised non-institutionalized de jure residents, aged 21 and over. The sample was designed to reflect a fixed distribution of respondents combining gender, age groups and population sectors (Arab-Israelis; Jewish-Israelis: Israel-born or immigrants from the former U.S.S.R., pre- and post-1990). The interviewed sample was weighted back to the total population to compensate for unequal selection probabilities resulting from disproportionate stratification, clustering effects and non-response. The weights were adjusted to make sample totals conform to known population totals taken from reliable Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) sources.

Face-to-face interviews at the respondents' homes were conducted from May 2003 to April 2004 in Arabic, Hebrew or Russian. The survey was administered using laptop-computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) methods by professional survey interviewers, trained and supervised by the CBS. Interviews took on average 60 minutes, and the overall response rate was 73% (88% among Arab-Israelis; 71% among Jewish-Israelis), totaling 4,859 completed interviews. …

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