Predictors of Impaired Mental Health and Support Seeking in Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Online Survey

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This study explored the possible factors associated with psychological distress in adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and also engagement in mental health services (MHS) in those reporting distress in a large Australian cohort. Participants with IBD completed an online survey assessing perceived IBD activity (Manitoba Index; MI), mental health status (K10), demographic details, and engagement with MHS for IBD-associated issues. Of 336 participants, 76.5% perceived themselves as having active disease over the past 6 months, and on K10 scores, 51.8% had a mental health issue. Of participants with a mental health issue, only 21.3% were currently receiving mental health support. A stepwise logistic regression analysis correctly classified 78.7% of the status of receiving mental health support, with lower income (<$60,000 per annum) the only significant predictor. Paradoxically, the degree of psychological distress did not correlate with seeking mental health support. The data show that in individuals with ongoing symptoms attributed to active IBD, mental health issues are highly prevalent, with older age and higher income being additional drivers of mental health issues. The greater challenge, however, seems not to be identifying mental health issues, but in getting those in need to engage in MHS.

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