City Research Online

Population density and receipt of care for common mental disorders: a cross-sectional analysis of English household data from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey

Hiepko, A. T., Shoham, N., McManus, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-2711-0819 & Cooper, C. (2024). Population density and receipt of care for common mental disorders: a cross-sectional analysis of English household data from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. BMJ Open, 14(5), article number e078635. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-078635


People living in less urban areas in the UK may have reduced access to mental healthcare compared with people in urban areas. Although this was not reported in the 2000 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) data, subsequent changes to mental health provision and economic recession may have impacted care inequalities. We re-examined this, hypothesising that those living in less urban areas of England received less antidepressant medication and psychological interventions, compared with those living in urban areas, after adjusting for covariates including common mental disorders (CMDs) and socioeconomic status.

National cross-sectional study.

Households in England.

We analysed data from 7455 participants aged 16 and above from the 2014 English APMS.

Residence in an urban or less urban area.

Primary outcome
Current receipt of any antidepressant medication or any psychological intervention.

Participants living in less urban areas were half as likely to be in receipt of any psychological intervention relative to those living in urban areas (adjusted OR (aOR) 0.49; 95% CI 0.30 to 0.79; p=0.004). There was no association between urbanisation and antidepressant receipt (aOR 1.01; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.25; p=0.944).

People living in less urban areas have a lower likelihood of being in receipt of psychological treatment for CMDs, which may indicate barriers to care access. Our findings differ from the results of a study using a comparable sample conducted 14 years previously. While Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services have increased therapy access nationwide, this may have had more impact in urban areas, potentially widening urban/rural inequalities. Further research is needed to understand how to address such geographical inequalities in access to mental healthcare.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Violence and Society Centre
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of e078635.full.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (434kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login