Introduction: Delays in mental health service utilization for patients with depression have been observed globally. To elucidate some aspects of delays, age-related associations with a series of variables representing different stages of mental health service use were studied concurrently. Methods: A total of 1,433 patients with depression participated in a nationwide Korean Depressive Patient Survey through the collaboration of 70 psychiatric clinics and hospitals. Using logistic and Poisson regression, we investigated whether there is variation in the associations by age. Results: Patients with depression in South Korea spent 3.4 years on average before starting a first depression treatment after the onset of depression, and 58% of them entered depression treatment in the first year of onset. Early onset appeared to lower the chance of "early depression treatment": e.g., adjusted odds ratio (OR)s for onset age of 40-54, 25-39 and <25 versus ≥55 were 0.65 (95% CI=0.44, 0.94), 0.36 (95% CI=0.16, 0.81) and 0.18 (95% CI=0.06, 0.48), respectively. In contrast, favorable associations of early onset with "self-recognition as depression" and "number of nonpsychiatric clinics attended" before visiting psychiatrist were found. Younger cohorts were associated with more positive attitudes toward all mental health utilization measures. Discussion: Delays in depression treatment are lengthy in South Korea. Those with early onset are more likely to have delayed depression treatment but are more willing to seek help from a psychiatrist once they sought for the treatment.
- Age of onset
- Duration of untreated depression
- Mental health service
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health