Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Since completing my residency in psychiatry at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) over 20 years ago, I have been a consistent critic of conventional psychiatric treatments. The record is clear: benefits of ECT do not surpass the deleterious side-effects, cheaper older anti-depressants (tri-cyclics) are safer and more beneficial than the expense new drugs (SSRI’s which disrupt sleep “Prozac (c) eyes” and contribute to violence) and anti-psychotics damage brains and create life-threatening obesity and diabetes. Of course, there is a legitimate role for short term tranquilization using medication and physical restraints when an unbalanced individual overcome with stress decompensates to the degree that there is a risk of harm to self or others… but chronic medication use for alleged mental illness is shameful in light of the excellent holistic and integrative treatments available. Now the purveyors of psychiatric care are distressed that LESS THAN 50% of mentally ill patients whose to access mental health services offered by physicians. To the whining of these doctors I say, offer better services and the patients will come. Corrective psychiatry is the “centsible” option: safe and effective and cost effective.
“…More than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year…”
Depression and Mental Health Services Usage
Sep. 30, 2013 ”” More than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year, a new study has found.
“It’s concerning to us that many Ontarians with mental health needs are not accessing clinician-based care,” said Katherine Smith, the lead author and epidemiologist in the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael’s Hospital.
“Some people may seek non-medical types of support or care, such as clergy, alternative medicine, psychologists or social workers. But we don’t know for sure, so the gap remains of concern.”
The study used OHIP data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The findings appear in the journal Health.
An estimated one in four people suffer at some point in their lives from depression, which reduces quality of life, is associated with increased disability and lower productivity at work. Women are diagnosed with depression more than twice as often as men.
Smith had set out to see whether gender plays a role in seeking mental health care. In general, women use mental health services about 10 per cent more than men, reflecting the fact they use health care services overall more than men.
More than half — 55.3 per cent — of people in Ontario with self-reported major depression had no contact with physicians for mental health reasons in the following year. Smith said additional research is needed to understand why.
She said some ethnic groups may not be comfortable accessing physician-based mental health services or may prefer to use non-medical services. Stigma around mental illness may also deter some people, she said.
Men may be more likely than women to delay seeing a doctor for minor mental health concerns, but will seek help once a mental health problem reaches a certain threshold.
She found the gender gap was small among those with depression, only five percentage points. Women were slightly more likely than men to see a primary care provider for depression — 30.4 per cent vs. 24.6 per cent, but there was little gender difference in who sought speciality care, such as from a psychiatrist.
In comparison, among people without major depression (who could have had other mental health concerns), there was a significant gender difference: 21 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men had a mental health visit, a gender gap of 8 percentage points.
The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael’s Hospital. The original article was written by Leslie Shepherd.