Medical experts are asking: Why don’t more people see a doctor when they have depression?
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Health care professionals have begun asking, “Why don’t you see a therapist?”
Many people say it’s because they don’t feel like they’re able to connect with a mental health professional, said Dr. Nancy Shafer, a psychiatrist and psychiatrist professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
They also say that they can’t get the time to see a psychologist.
But it can be difficult to get to a counselor, she said.
Shafer and her colleagues have created a portal that lets people view a counselor’s list of available mental health services in the Houston area, as well as a list of specialists and clinics in the region.
“People need to know they have options, and that we’re working to provide those options to them,” Shafer said.
But some have criticized the service, which was created after the Houston Chronicle reported that more than a dozen psychiatrists and psychologists had been removed from a mental hospital because of concerns that they were being paid for their work, and for referrals to psychiatrists.
The clinic has a list that includes the names of people who have been removed.
Shaffer and other experts are worried that people may not be taking the time, or not understanding, the risks associated with having mental health issues.
“I am worried about how many people don’t know about these programs,” said Shafer.
“The stigma is so deep that many people feel it is acceptable to get a diagnosis and to say, ‘Oh, I am suffering from depression,’ without having any understanding of what it means to actually suffer from depression,” Shafe said.
“Many people are afraid of speaking out, of saying, ‘I am depressed,’ without any understanding.”
Shafer’s research has found that people who experience depression are more likely to seek treatment.
A 2011 study of 1,200 people with depression in Texas found that, when they were told they had a depression, more than half said they were willing to go to a doctor to get treatment, compared with only one in 10 when they weren’t told they have a depressive disorder.
But even when the stigma is removed, people still are more vulnerable to developing depression and developing symptoms.
Shafers research has shown that depression and other mental health disorders are linked to poor outcomes in employment, education and housing, among other outcomes.
Shaver said the stigma can be especially strong when it comes to mental health.
People with depression are less likely to report having suicidal thoughts, for example, and are more often reluctant to seek help, Shafer wrote in a 2012 paper for the American Journal of Psychiatry.
People who are depressed are also less likely than other people to be diagnosed with depression and more likely than people without depression to experience suicidal thoughts.
This means that if a person is diagnosed with a depressive or suicidal disorder, the likelihood that they will seek help for themselves and others is much higher, said Shaver.
“When people have depression, their symptoms are so severe that it may be that they are just so much worse off than the general population,” she said, “but it is so rare that they even know.”
Health care professionals have begun asking, “Why don’t you see a therapist?”Many people say it’s because they don’t feel like…
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