The effects of distress and social networks on psychiatric help seeking were examined in an adult sample from a community survey of 3,481 adults in Baltimore, Maryland. Data were derived from the Johns Hopkins University site of the NIMH Epidemiologic Catchment Area program. Statistical adjustment for the independent effects of social (age, education, marital status, race, household composition, and sex), economic (employment, income, and insurance), and physical health factors were controlled for in estimating the relative odds of mental health service utilization. Subjects who were young, without full-time employment, or who reported one or more chronic medical problems were more likely to utilize mental health professionals. Married persons and the aging were less likely to seek psychiatric treatment. Social support and psychological distress interact to affect the use of mental health care. Persons with weak family ties were five times more likely to seek professional help than those with strong family ties, while persons with confiding social support were over four times as likely to use mental health services as those lacking confiding relationships. Interventions and other treatment efforts to encourage use of mental health services are recommended.