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Many Young Adults With Depression Not Receiving Treatment

Common reasons for not seeking treatment include cost, not knowing where to go for services, fear of being committed or having to take meds

TUESDAY, May 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Many young adults with a major depressive episode (MDE) do not receive any treatment, with cost being the most prominent barrier, according to a research letter published online May 10 in JAMA Network Open.

Wenhua Lu, Ph.D., from The City University of New York in New York City, and colleagues examined trends and patterns in young adults’ perceived reasons for not seeking treatment for depression using nationally representative data from the 2011 to 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Young adults with a 12-month MDE were asked whether they had received any mental health treatment in the previous year; reasons for not seeking treatment were explored.

The researchers found that 11,186 of 21,012 young adults with a 12-month MDE did not receive any treatment between 2011 and 2019. The most-reported reasons for not seeking treatment for an MDE in 2019 were cost, not knowing where to go for services, thinking they could handle the problem without treatment, and fear of being committed or having to take medicine (54.7, 37.8, 30.9, and 22.8 percent, respectively). From 2011 to 2019, an increasing number of young adults reported not knowing where to go for services, fear of being committed or having to take medicine, having inadequate insurance coverage for treatment, fear of a negative effect on their jobs, and having concerns about confidentiality.

“Destigmatizing mental health treatment should be prioritized among young adults, with gender-specific engagement interventions for men,” the authors write.

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