This study examined the relationship between psychiatric disorder and disability in a rural community and the use of formal and informal services in the management of such disabilities. It was found that of the 26% of the surveyed population who obtained a positive current psychiatric diagnosis, 48.3% had required assistance in managing at least one activity of daily living. The majority of those seeking assistance in managing these functional problems did so from family and friends rather than from formal agencies. Psychiatric disorder was found to lead to disability as frequently as did physical disorder, with almost 50% of those who had experienced mental health problems reporting that they were currently unable to carry out at least one activity of daily living. The finding that assistance was sought primarily from family and friends raises important questions about the nature of psychiatric disorder as a public health problem.
- Activities of Daily Living Adult Australia/epidemiology Community Mental Health Services/statistics & numerical data Disabled Persons/*statistics & numerical data Female Humans Male Mental Disorders/*epidemiology/rehabilitation Rural Health/*statistics & numerical data Social Support