Monday, December 23, 2019

Knowing Others in Treatment May Encourage People With Depression to Seek Care

People with depression may be more likely to seek treatment if they know of others with emotional problems or others who have sought treatment for emotional problems, suggests a study in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

“Our findings suggest that mere personal knowledge [of others with mental illness] may carry unique importance for treatment seeking beyond other well-studied social factors, such as social support and perceived stigma,” wrote Michelle M. Tran, M.S., of Palo Alto University and colleagues.

The findings were based on a follow-up survey of adults aged 18 years or older who participated in an international online depression screening study. A total of 239 participants who screened positive for major depression in the initial study agreed to answer follow-up questions, including whether they had ever sought professional help or treatment for depression; the number of people they knew with “emotional or mental problems” (within and outside of their family); and the number of people they knew who sought treatment for emotional or mental health problems (within and outside of their family). The participants also answered questions about their views toward depression, experiences with stigma, how supported they felt by others, and more.

The researchers found that participants who knew at least one person in their family with emotional or mental problems were nearly four times more likely to seek depression treatment than those who did not know of anyone in their family with such problems. Similarly, participants who knew at least one person with emotional or mental problems outside of their family were five times more likely to seek treatment for depression. Knowing at least one person within or outside of one’s family who received treatment for emotional or mental problems was also related to higher odds of treatment seeking by the participants, the researchers noted.

“Because our findings were correlational, it is unknown whether treatment seeking was the result of or a precursor to personal knowledge of others with mental health issues,” Tran and colleagues cautioned. “Future research should investigate whether this relationship is causal and if so, the direction of this relationship. If this relationship is found to be causal, encounter-based interventions can be developed for individuals at risk for depression, wherein they may meet others who have received treatment.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric Services article “Attitudes Toward Mental Health Help Seeking as Predictors of Future Help-Seeking Behavior and Use of Mental Health Treatments.”

(Image: iStock/AntonioGuillem)

Get Ready for APA’s 2020 Election; Voting Begins January 2!

Voting members of APA will receive their ballots soon for APA’s 2020 election. Information about the candidates can be found on APA’s election website – members may also log in here and vote during the January 2-31 election period. Videos of the candidates for president-elect, treasurer, and trustee-at-large responding to questions posed by APA’s Election Committee will be posted on the APA election website by January 2, the day voting begins. Don’t let this opportunity to influence APA’s future pass you by—be sure to vote.