Print version ISSN 0185-3325
WAGNER, Fernando A. et al. Targeting depression as a public health problem in Mexico. Salud Ment [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.1, pp.3-11. ISSN 0185-3325.
The present review aims at analyzing the magnitude and social impact of depression, as well as exploring models that help to understand the strategies needed to address this public health problem. The literature reveals that 9.2% of the general population has had a depressive episode and one in five persons will have an episode by age 75. Lower rates are observed in low and mid income in comparison to those with high income. These differences are not due to personal income, the probability of greater severity or delay in diagnosis, and are more likely related to cultural differences. Greater risk is observed among females, people younger than 60 years, marital status as single, widowed or divorced, and low educational attainment. The deleterious effect of depression on productivity is well established (27 days lost in the past year, on average, per case). The association with diabetes, hypertension, cardio vascular disease, drug use, suicide, and other risk behaviors has been frequently observed. Although unresolved questions remain about the presence or not of common risk factors and the chain of causality, it is a known fact that the combination of physical and mental disorders causes greater disability. With regard to the healthcare system, patients with depression and/or anxiety have higher utilization rates and healthcare costs, particularly among elderly patients. This healthcare overutilization is related with the low rates of diagnosis and adequate treatment of depression. About 26% of depression cases will not be diagnosed and, although a large proportion of patients have contact with healthcare services, nearly 30% never receive help for their depression. New treatment models that overcome barriers, understanding the sociocultural factors related with the problem, and addressing depression at the primary level of healthcare are urgent in Mexico.
Keywords : Depression; epidemiology; healthcare services; Mexico; public health; review literature.