Background: Prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression are high among refugees in Germany. However, knowledge on subjective as well as objective need for psychotherapy and utilization of psychotherapeutic treatment is scarce. Both structural and personal barriers regarding utilization of mental health services must be addressed in order to increase treatment efficiency. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the objective as well as the perceived need for treatment, the utilization of mental health care among refugees in the past 12months, and the perceived barriers to treatment. Method: By means of face-to-face interviews, an unselected convenience sample of 177 adult refugees were interviewed in either Arabic, Farsi, Kurmanci, English, or German. The general sample was reached through social workers. In addition to the Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15), utilization of psychotherapeutic and psychiatric care as well as the subjective needs and barriers to treatment were assessed. Results: According to the RHS-15 54.8% of participants (n =97) suffered from relevant mental health problems. However, although 28 (28.9%) of the 97 participants who scored above the RHS-15 cut-off perceived a need for therapy, none of them had received psychotherapy as recommended by the German S3 Guidelines. Missing information about mental health and language difficulties were the most frequently cited barriers to mental health services. Conclusions: Psychologically distressed refugees do not receive sufficient treatment. The reduction of barriers to treatment as well as extension of mental health services to lower thresholds should be considered in the future. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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