It’s an unfortunate truth: Most people who are depressed receive little or no treatment at all, thus increasing the risk of suicide.
The study, conducted by King’s College London, Harvard Medical School and the World Health Organization (WHO), analyzed more than 50,000 people in 21 countries.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, showed that in high-income countries, only one in five of the 4,331 people with depression receive treatment.
In developing countries, the situation is more severe, as only one in 27 people with depression seeks treatment, based on research data.
Depression is a global mental illness affecting over 350 million people of all ages and is also the leading cause of disability.
Social stigma has made it hard for increased awareness to help depressed individuals seek the proper help they need to recover.
Moreover, WHO World Mental Health Surveys analyzed data in a series of 23 community surveys in 21 countries. Low and middle-income countries such as Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Iraq, Mexico, and Romania were analyzed.
Graham Thornicroft, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry and lead researcher of the study, gave the following statement.
“We call on national and international organizations to make adequate resources available for scaling up the provision of mental health services so that no one with depression is left behind.
Our results indicate that much treatment currently offered to people with depression falls far short of the criteria for evidence-based and effective treatment.”
Thornicroft followed by saying, “Intriguingly, about half of all people with depression did not think they had a problem that needed treatment and this proportion fell to only a third in the poorest countries. This strongly suggests that we also need to support people with depression and their family members to recognize that they have a treatable condition and should seek treatment and care.”