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Only 20% of Taiwanese depression sufferers seek help: doctor

And one third of those seeking help give up treatments after their first doctor's visit

(Image credit: Max Pixel)

(Image credit: Max Pixel)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A recent study shows only 20 percent of Taiwanese people with depression seek help, while one third of those seeking help give up treatment after their first doctor's visit.

According to a local epidemiology study on the occurrence of depression, only 20 percent of the people with depression would immediately seek help, and that can be attributed to mental illness denial, shying away from treatment for depression, or don't know where to start when seeking help.

To raise mental health awareness and support people with depression, the expert group Taiwan Association Against Depression (台灣憂鬱症防治協會, TAAD) has announced the establishment of a new LINE page to communicate with LINE users about depression via private message, and provide information as well as resources for depression in LINE chat rooms.

TAAD President Dr. Liao Shih-cheng (廖士程) said that Asian countries have lower prevalence rates for depression between 2 to 5 percent, compared to Western countries' 10 to 15 percent , but the rates of suicide among patients with depression in Asian countries are higher than they are in Western countries.

Dr. Chang Chia-ming (張家銘), director general of Taiwanese Society of Psychiatry, cited prescription records from the country's National Health Insurance (NHI) system database, saying that 52.1 percent of first-time patients with depression revisit their doctors a month later for treatments, while one third of the first-time patients simply give up treatment after their first visit.

Chang said that the reasons to stop treatments include patients' concerns or distrust towards the treatments or having unwanted side effects on the body.

"Better communication between the doctors and their patients can reduce patients' anxiety and will be helpful during the treatment process, which in turn, will improve patients' health," said Chang.

Signs and symptoms of depression, according to National Institute of Mental Health, include persistent sad mood, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, difficulty concentrating and remembering, appetite changes, suicidal thought or attempt, or restlessness.