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Psychotic Experiences and Mental Health Service Use

Subclinical psychotic experiences and subsequent contact with mental health services (2017)

V. Bhavsar, J. H. Maccabe, S. L. Hatch, M. Hotopf, J. Boydell & P. McGuire



Although psychotic experiences in people without diagnosed mental health problems are associated with mental health service use, few studies have assessed this prospectively or measured service use by real-world clinical data. The aim of this study was to describe and investigate the association between psychotic experiences and later mental health service use, and to assess the role of symptoms of common mental health disorders in this association.

How was the study conducted?

We linked a representative survey of south-east London (SELCoH-1, n=1698) with health records from the local mental healthcare provider. Cox regression estimated the association of PEs with rate of mental health service use.

What did we find?

After adjustments, psychotic experiences were associated with a 1.75-fold increase in the rate of subsequent mental health service use (hazard ratio (HR) 1.75, 95% CI 1.03–2.97) compared with those without PEs. Participants with PEs experienced longer care episodes compared with those without.


Psychotic experiences in the general population are important predictors of public mental health need, aside from their relevance for psychoses. We found psychotic experiences to be associated with later mental health service use, after accounting for sociodemographic confounders and concurrent psychopathology.


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