Depression symptom and professional mental health service use

Jeong Lim Kim, Jaelim Cho, Sohee Park, Eun Cheol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite the sharp rise in antidepressant use, the underutilization of mental healthcare services for depression remains a concern. We investigated factors associated with the underutilization of mental health services for potential depression symptoms in the Republic of Korea, using a nationally representative sample. Methods: Data were obtained from the Community Health Survey (2011-2012) conducted in the Republic of Korea. Participants comprised adults who reported potential depression symptoms during the year prior to the study (n = 21,644); information on professional mental healthcare use for their symptoms was obtained. The association of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related factors with consultation use was analysed via multiple logistic regression. Adjusted odds ratio and 95 % confidence intervals were estimated. Results: Among those reporting potential depression symptoms, only 17.4 % had consulted a medical/mental health professional. Elderly individuals of both genders had significantly lower consultation rates compared to middle-aged individuals. Unmet healthcare needs and a history of diabetes mellitus were associated with lower consultation rates. After stratification by age, elderly individuals with the lowest education and income level were significantly less likely to seek professional mental health services. Married, separated, or divorced men had lower consultation rates compared to unmarried individuals, whereas married, separated, or divorced women had higher rates. Conclusions: The results suggest that target strategies for vulnerable groups identified in this study-including elderly individuals-need to be established at the community level, including strengthening social networks and spreading awareness to reduce the social stigma of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 24

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was not financially supported by a grant. The authors thank the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for providing access to data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Kim et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Depression symptom and professional mental health service use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this