Professor Veiko Vasar, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Tartu
Senior Lecturer Anu Aluoja, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Tartu
Professor Raimo KR Salokangas, MD, PhD, MSc, Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku
Main aim of this study was to estimate the point prevalence of major depression in Estonia and to study how depression and 12-month help-seeking for emotional problems are associated with sociodemographic, health status, and social support factors in the general population, and among depressed persons. The study was part of the Estonian Health Interview Survey 2006 (EHIS 2006). The present study included adults aged 18-84 years (N=6105). The data about sociodemographic, health status, alcohol use, help-seeking, depression treatment and social support factors were derived from the structured interviews of EHIS 2006. A major depressive episode was assessed using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. The point prevalence of major depression in Estonian population was 5.6%. Low income and poor health status were most significant associates of depression among health status and sociodemographic factors. Both, structural and functional factors of social support, and locus of control were associated with depression. The prevalence of 12-month help-seeking for emotional symptoms in general population was 4.8% and in the depressed sample 34.1%. 12-month help-seeking was most significantly associated with current and previous depressive episodes, serious health disorder, and disability. Independent associates of help-seeking among depressed persons were severity of depression and locus of control. Interactions of emotional loneliness, locus of control and frequency of contacts with parents significantly predicted help-seeking in the depressed sample. Depressed people used non-mental health services 1.5-3 times more than non-depressed persons. In conclusion, the prevalence of major depression in the Estonian population is comparable with other population surveys, being a little higher than the average. Majority of general population of Estonia and depressed persons do not seek help for emotional problems. Low level of diagnosis and undertreatment leads to an increased use of expensive but non-specific health services by depressed persons.