Research Article
Volume 10 Issue 2 - 2021
Unattended Mental Health Needs in Primary Care: Lebanon’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp
Steven P Segal1*, Vicky C Khoury2,4, Ramy Salah3 and Jess Ghannam4
1Professor of the Graduate Division and Director, Mental Health and Social Welfare Research Group School of Social Welfare, University for California Berkeley, CA, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ, USA
3Medical School, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto, CA, USA
*Corresponding Author: Steven P Segal, Professor of the Graduate Division and Director, Mental Health and Social Welfare Research Group School of Social Welfare, University for California Berkeley, CA, USA.
Received: April 01, 2020; Published: January 27, 2021


Aims: This study considers factors contributing to unattended mental health needs among primary care patients in Lebanon’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp.

Methods: Data collection (2012-13) involved researcher-administered-structured-surveys of primary healthcare-clinic patients (n = 254) using the K6, the PC-PTSD, and the Modified-MINI mental illness screens. Chi. Sq., ANOVA and Principal Component analysis provide descriptive statistics; Logistic regression evaluates risk-factors associated with unattended-positive-mental- health-screens.

Results: The sample (n = 254) included 55% females and 45% males; aged 18-89, M = 40.4 (± 13). 51.6% (n = 132) screened positive for mental illness, for these individuals only 11.4% (15 of 132) spoke to their physician about mental illness or had an acknowledged record of psychological problems. Thus 88.6% (n = 117) had unattended-positive-screens. Patient inability to access provider advice or assistance increased chances of having an unattended-positive-screen [EXP(B) = 0.42; CI: 0.20 - 0.88] as did patients’ attribution of their mental illness to a physical Illness [EXP(B) = 5.26; CI: 2.36 - 11.74], negative attitudes toward the mentally ill [EXP (B) = 0.92.; CI: 0.86 - 0.98], female gender [EXP (B) = 2.20; CI: 1.22 - 3.95], and lower SES [EXP(B) = 0.66; CI: 0.48 - 0.89].

Conclusion: Large numbers of patients screen positive for mental illness who do not have their mental health need addressed during their primary care visit. This seems an issue rooted in a lack of psychoeducation about what is mental vs physical illness, female specific access to care, stigma towards mental illness, and cross-SES-communication. Improved communication in primary care settings might significantly reduce the untreated mental illness gap reported in the literature.

Keywords: Mental Health; Primary Care; Lebanon’s Shatila; Palestinian Refugee Camp


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Citation: Steven P Segal., et al. “Unattended Mental Health Needs in Primary Care: Lebanon’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp”. EC Psychology and Psychiatry 10.2 (2021): 04-14.

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