Arthritis patients see need for mental healthcare


December 11, 2020 (Vancouver) – A new Arthritis Research Canada study reveals individuals with arthritis have an increased perceived need for mental healthcare in comparison to the general population.

The findings specifically revealed that, among individuals with a mental disorder, arthritis is associated with 71 per cent higher odds of having a perceived need for mental healthcare, but a similar odds of receiving support for their mental disorders.

“The need for mental healthcare and the probability of receiving various forms of mental health support in individuals with arthritis are underappreciated,” said Alyssa Howren, a research trainee at Arthritis Research Canada. “This is problematic, given the significant burden of mental disorders in people with arthritis.”

Despite that burden, there is limited research on how arthritis independently affects an individual’s perceived need and use of mental healthcare in the form of medications, professional services, and non-professional support for emotions, mental health or substance use, as compared to those without arthritis.

“This type of research is key to improving quality of care for individuals with arthritis who are struggling with their mental health,” Howren said. “It will also help us explore the use of mental health support beyond medications, to include psychological treatment, online therapy, self-help groups, and informal support from friends or family.”

The study showed that men with arthritis, in particular, had 2.69 times higher odds than men without arthritis in sensing a need for care. 

“The potential role of traditional masculine norms in symptom recognition and healthcare seeking for mental disorders highlight additional opportunities for improving mental health in individuals with arthritis,” Howren added.

To read the full research article, please click here.


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* This research was co-supervised by Arthritis Research Canada’s Drs. Mary De Vera and Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, co-authored by Arthritis Research Canada’s Drs. Deborah Da Costa and Hui Xie and the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Joseph Puyat, and funded by the Arthritis Society (SOG-18-0192).


ABOUT ARTHRITIS RESEARCH CANADA: Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca


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