Are self-referrers just the worried well?
Background Reluctance to seek formal help has been seen as a major problem in trying to reduce the prevalence of anxiety and depression. Aims The aims of this study were to assess the psychiatric status of those self-referring to psycho-educational Stress and Self-Confidence community workshops using a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach. Method Cross-sectional analysis of 196 people who referred themselves to community workshops was carried out using the Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R) psychiatric interview and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-T) scale self-report assessments. Results Over 70% of all self-referrers had an ICD-10 diagnosis. Those without diagnoses had experienced recurrent significant psychological problems and 29.7% had never consulted their General Practitioner (GP) for anxiety/depression problems. Total CIS-R scores and white ethnic group best predicted previous GP consultation. Conclusion Setting up a self-referral system can enable those with diagnosable psychiatric problems, who may otherwise be reluctant to seek help, to come forward. This may have significant public mental health implications.