General medical and specialty mental health service use for major depression.


Journal Article

While major depression is common, many depressed persons receive, at best, inadequate treatment. A first step in remedying inadequate detection and treatment of major depression requires understanding the pathways into treatment-from situations of no care, to disease recognition, to referral and appropriate treatment-as well as identifying factors associated with movement between these several stages.Using the Epidemiologic Catchment Area sample, we identified factors associated with treatment in the general medical or mental health specialist section, or no treatment in a subsample of individuals with current major depression.Strikingly, one-fourth of the sample received no services, over half received care in the general medical sector, and only one-fifth accessed a mental health specialist. Among those receiving any health services (general or mental), men and respondents reporting suicidal symptoms were at risk of receiving no care, while perceived poor health and a cluster of core depressive symptoms were associated with increased odds of service use (general or mental). Among respondents receiving general medical services, perceived poor health, core depressive symptoms, a history of depression, and comorbid mental conditions increased the odds of treatment in the specialty mental health sector.The findings emphasize the need for public health initiatives to 1) improve detection and movement into treatment among those at risk of receiving no care; and 2) insure that, once within the health care system, the processes of primary care treatment and specialty referrals conform to evidence-based treatment guidelines.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Burns, BJ; Ryan Wagner, H; Gaynes, BN; Wells, KB; Schulberg, HC

Published Date

  • January 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 127 - 143

PubMed ID

  • 11001277

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11001277

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1541-3527

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-2174

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2190/tlxj-yxlx-f4ya-6pha


  • eng