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Gender differences in mental health service utilization among respondents reporting depression in a national health survey

Smith KLW, Matheson FI, Moineddin R, Dunn JR, Lu H, Cairney J, Glazier RH. Health. 2013; 5(10):1561-71.

This study examined whether people who self-reported depression sought mental health treatment in the year after being interviewed, and how gender affected utilization. Depression data were obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey (2000-01), and linked to medical records in Ontario (n = 24,677). Overall, women had higher rates of mental health service utilization, but there were no gender differences in rates of specialist care. The gender difference in mental health contact was greater for those without depression, as opposed to those with depression. Among those without depression, women were significantly more likely than men to use mental health services; however, rates were similar for women and men with depression. This finding suggests that men may be more likely than women to delay seeing a doctor for minor mental health concerns, but will seek help once a problem reaches a threshold.

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Keywords: Depression Mental health services Health care utilization Social determinants of health