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Type: Journal article
Title: Differences in community mental health literacy in older and younger Australians
Author: Fisher, L.
Goldney, R.
Citation: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2003; 18(1):33-40
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 0885-6230
Statement of
Laura J. Fisher and Robert D. Goldney
Abstract: <h4>Background</h4>Depression has been traditionally considered to increase with age, although that may be due to sampling of those who have presented with depressive conditions. It is now recognised that patients' understanding of depression and beliefs about its appropriate treatment, mental health literacy, influences treatment-seeking behaviour.<h4>Objectives</h4>This study delineates depression, recent use of health services and mental health literacy in a random and representative community sample of younger and older South Australians.<h4>Methods</h4>Depression, health service utilisation and mental health literacy were assessed in a random and representative sample of 2010 South Australians. Results for those aged between 65 and 74 years (n=300) and those aged 15 to 24 years (n=521) were compared.<h4>Results</h4>Compared with the younger group, older subjects did not report greater levels of current depression although they were more likely to have seen a medical practitioner in the last 12 months and be taking antidepressants. However, their mental health literacy in terms of recognition of a mental health problem in a vignette was somewhat poorer and fewer recommended treatment from a counsellor, telephone service or psychologist and more considered that a psychiatrist would be harmful. They also more often perceived the clergy as helpful.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Depression was not more common among older than younger members of the community. Despite recognising depression in a vignette less often and perceiving less likelihood of help from several different mental health professionals, those in the older group were more likely to receive antidepressant medication and to have recently consulted a medical practitioner.
Keywords: Humans
Antidepressive Agents
Health Surveys
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Depressive Disorder
Mental Health Services
Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
Age Factors
Health Services
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
South Australia
Description: Published in International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2003; 18 (1):33-40 at
DOI: 10.1002/gps.769
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Psychiatry publications

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