Engagement in Mental Health Services

Published June 2022

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

Mental health service engagement has been the focus of extensive research. The concept of service (dis)engagement lacks a uniform definition and methods of measurement. It may encompass appointment attendance and nonattendance, the therapeutic alliance, and, most commonly, premature discontinuation of care. Factors associated with disengagement (e.g., demographic, clinical, and program related) have varied by study, including investigation of similar disorders and treatment models. Additional factors to consider are the quality and type of engagement. For example, not all research has conceptualized more engagement as better; indeed, some interventions have been designed to reduce in-person service use and, particularly, acute care use.

This collection examines research on service engagement, with a focus on patient, provider, and program factors influencing engagement and patient/provider perspectives. Included articles span various populations and mental health services. Although there is comparatively little literature on interventions targeting service engagement, digital tools demonstrate promise and are likely to be a growing research focus.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Disengagement From Care: Perspectives of Individuals With Serious Mental Illness and of Service Providers
Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Alison Easter, Ph.D., Michele Pollock, M.S.W., Leah Gogel Pope, Ph.D., Jennifer P. Wisdom, M.P.H., Ph.D.
2013; Volume 64, Issue 8, pp. 770-775

Mental Health-Related Discrimination as a Predictor of Low Engagement With Mental Health Services
Sarah Clement, Ph.D., Paul Williams, M.P.H., Simone Farrelly, Ph.D., Stephani L. Hatch, Ph.D., Oliver Schauman, M.Sc., Debra Jeffery, M.Sc., R. Claire Henderson, M.D., Ph.D., Graham Thornicroft, M.D., Ph.D.
2015; Volume 66, Issue 2, pp. 171-176

A Qualitative Investigation of Engagement in Mental Health Services Among Black and Hispanic LGB Young Adults
Kiara L. Moore, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., Lucy Lopez, B.A., David Camacho, Ph.D., M.S.W., Michelle R. Munson, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 6, pp. 555-561

Characteristics of Community Mental Health Clinics Associated With Treatment Engagement
Gabriela L. Stein, Ph.D., Catherine S. N. Lee, M.D., Ping Shi, Ph.D., Benjamin L. Cook, Ph.D., M.P.H., Dea Papajorgji-Taylor, M.A.I.S., M.P.H., Nicholas J. Carson, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.
2014; Volume 65, Issue 8, pp. 1020-1025

Predicting Engagement With Mental Health Peer Specialist Services
Matthew Chinman, Ph.D., Sharon McCarthy, Ph.D., Chantele Mitchell-Miland, M.P.H., Rachel L. Bachrach, Ph.D., Russell K. Schutt, Ph.D., Marsha Ellison, Ph.D.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 4, pp. 333-336

Access to and Engagement in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Over Time
Junqing Liu, Ph.D., Amy Storfer-Isser, Ph.D., Tami L. Mark, Ph.D., Tyler Oberlander, B.A., Constance Horgan, Ph.D., Deborah W. Garnick, Ph.D., Sarah Hudson Scholle, Dr.P.H.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 7, pp. 722-725

Psychiatric Inpatient Discharge Planning Practices and Attendance at Aftercare Appointments
Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Maria Abraham, M.D., M.P.H., Natalia V. Bolotnikova, M.A., Sheila A. Donahue, M.A., Susan M. Essock, Ph.D., Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Wenjun S. Shao, M.S., Melanie M. Wall, Ph.D., Marleen Radigan, M.S., Dr.P.H.
2017; Volume 68, Issue 1, pp. 92-95

Family Involvement in Psychiatric Hospitalizations: Associations With Discharge Planning and Prompt Follow-Up Care
Morgan Haselden, B.A., Tom Corbeil, M.P.H., Fei Tang, M.P.H., Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., Susan M. Essock, Ph.D., Melanie M. Wall, Ph.D., Marleen Radigan, Dr.P.H., M.S., Eric Frimpong, Ph.D., M.A., Rui Wang, M.S., Steven Lamberti, M.D., Matthew Schneider, M.D., Thomas E. Smith, M.D.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 10, pp. 860-866

A Qualitative Study of Barriers and Facilitators to Transitions from the Emergency Department to Outpatient Mental Health Care
Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ph.D., M.P.H., Julia Fukuda, M.P.H., Megan McMonigle, M.P.H., Julie Nguyen, B.S., Benjamin G. Druss, M.D., M.P.H.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 11, pp. 1311-1319

Barriers to Service Utilization and Child Mental Health Treatment Attendance Among Poverty-Affected Families
Lindsay A. Bornheimer, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., Mary C. Acri, Ph.D., Geetha Gopalan, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., Mary M. McKay, Ph.D.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 10, pp. 1101-1104

Patterns of Youth Mental Health Service Use and Discontinuation: Population Data From Australia’s Headspace Model of Care
Zac E. Seidler, M.C.P., Ph.D., Simon M. Rice, M.C.P., Ph.D., Haryana M. Dhillon, Ph.D., Sue M. Cotton, M.App.Sc., Ph.D., Nic R. Telford, M.S.Sc., Juliet McEachran, Ph.D., Debra J. Rickwood, Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 11, pp. 1104-1113

Predictors of Early Discharge From Early Intervention Services for Psychosis in New York State
Franco Mascayano, M.P.H., Els van der Ven, Ph.D., Gonzalo Martinez-Ales, M.D., Cale Basaraba, M.P.H., Nev Jones, Ph.D., Rufina Lee, Ph.D., Iruma Bello, Ph.D., Ilana Nossel, M.D., Stephen Smith, Ph.D., Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Melanie Wall, Ph.D., Ezra Susser, Ph.D., Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 11, pp. 1151-1157

Disengagement From Early Intervention Services for Psychosis: A Systematic Review
Franco Mascayano, M.P.H., Els van der Ven, Ph.D., Gonzalo Martinez-Ales, M.D., Ph.D., Alexandra Restrepo Henao, M.P.H., Juliana Zambrano, M.D., Nev Jones, Ph.D., Leopoldo J. Cabassa, Ph.D., Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Lawrence H. Yang, Ph.D., Ezra Susser, Dr.P.H., Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 1, pp. 49-60

Characteristics of Hispanics Referred to Coordinated Specialty Care for First-Episode Psychosis and Factors Associated With Enrollment
Bess Rose Friedman, M.Sc., Danielle K. Durán, M.Sc., Anastasiya Nestsiarovich, M.D., Ph.D., Mauricio Tohen, M.D., Dr.P.H., Rhoshel K. Lenroot, M.D., Juan R. Bustillo, M.D., Annette S. Crisanti, Ph.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 11, pp. 1407-1414

Use of a Web-Based Shared Decision-Making Program: Impact on Ongoing Treatment Engagement and Antipsychotic Adherence
Molly T. Finnerty, M.D., Deborah M. Layman, M.A., Qingxian Chen, M.S., Emily Leckman-Westin, Ph.D., Nicole Bermeo, B.A., Daisy S. Ng-Mak, Ph.D., Krithika Rajagopalan, Ph.D., Kimberly E. Hoagwood, Ph.D.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 12, pp. 1215-1221

Effect of Mobile Health on In-Person Service Use Among People With Serious Mental Illness
Dror Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., Benjamin Buck, Ph.D., Kevin Hallgren, Ph.D., Robert E. Drake, M.D., Ph.D.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 6, pp. 507-510

Enhancing Treatment Reengagement for Veterans With Serious Mental Illness: Evaluating the Effectiveness of SMI Re-Engage
Kristen M. Abraham, Ph.D., M.A., Jennifer Mach, M.D., M.P.H., Stephanie Visnic, B.A., John F. McCarthy, Ph.D., M.P.H.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 8, pp. 887-895

Message Framing and Engagement in Specialty Mental Health Care: A Follow-up Analysis
Shahrzad Mavandadi, Ph.D., Erin Wright, B.A., Johanna Klaus, Ph.D., David Oslin, M.D.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 10, pp. 1109-1112

Efficacy of the Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation (HOME) Program for Engaging Patients in Care After Hospitalization
Bridget B. Matarazzo, Psy.D., Jeri E. Forster, Ph.D., Trisha A. Hostetter, M.P.H., Melodi Billera, L.C.S.W., Geri Adler, Ph.D., M.S.W., Linda K. Ganzini, M.D., M.P.H., David W. Oslin, M.D., Lisa A. Brenner, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.(R.P.)
2019; Volume 70, Issue 12, pp. 1094-1100

Evaluation of Proactive Community Case Detection to Increase Help Seeking for Mental Health Care: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
Mark J. D. Jordans, Ph.D., Nagendra P. Luitel, M.A., Crick Lund, Ph.D., Brandon A. Kohrt, M.D., Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 8, pp. 810-815

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