Veterans' mental health beliefs: Facilitators and barriers to primary care-mental health use

Laura O. Wray, Emily Pikoff, Paul R. King, Dezarie Hutchison, Gregory P. Beehler, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) program aims to increase availability and acceptability of mental health (MH) care by integrating these services into primary care. Little is known about veterans' perceptions of this of method MH care delivery. This study explored the range of veterans' beliefs and perceptions of MH and MH services with the aim of describing potential facilitators and barriers to the uptake of PC-MHI services. Method: Team-based qualitative analysis of proceedings from focus groups. Participants included 41 veterans from across service eras. Focus groups were organized by service era and use of PC-MHI services. Codes pertaining to beliefs about MH and MH treatment were identified, grouped into subthemes, and then larger organizing themes. Barriers and facilitators to treatment seeking were identified. Results: Although our study was focused on veteran perceptions of PC-MHI, participants did not appear to discriminate between PC-MHI and other MH services when discussing their decisions to seek services. Facilitators and barriers to MH treatment-seeking included systems, personal and social influences. Stigma was mentioned infrequently relative to other beliefs. Discussion: Veterans with and without experience of PC-MHI services described a variety of beliefs aboutMHwithout regard to whether this service location. These findings suggest that while integration increases access, it may not in itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Primary care mental health integration
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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