Predictors of Mental Health Treatment Seeking and Engagement in a Community Mental Health Center

Ruth S. Shim, Michael T. Compton, Shun Zhang, Kristin Roberts, George Rust, Benjamin G. Druss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Disparities in behavioral health treatment outcomes are multifactorial, but treatment engagement and dropout from treatment often contribute to unequal mental health outcomes in individuals with serious mental illnesses. Alcohol and other substance use disorders have been associated with poor treatment adherence and premature discontinuation of treatment, but few studies have examined these factors in a predominantly African American sample of individuals with serious mental illnesses. This study examined predictors of mental health treatment engagement and dropout in a sample of 90 African American individuals presenting for treatment at a community mental health treatment facility in Atlanta, Georgia. Having an alcohol use disorder was associated with being less likely to attend mental health follow up (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12–0.88). Among African American individuals with alcohol use disorders, specific, targeted interventions may be necessary to help reach individuals that are at extremely high risk of poor health and poor adherence to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-514
Number of pages5
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Adherence
  • Mental health treatment seeking
  • Substance use disorders
  • Treatment dropout
  • Treatment engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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