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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Male depression fears grow
Depressed man
Men with depression are less likely to seek help
Men in Scotland suffering from depression are reluctant to seek medical help, according to a study.

Depression Alliance Scotland claims 300,000 people with depression were seen by GPs in Scotland in 2001.

However, while the condition afflicts men as often as women, men accounted for only a third of GP consultations.

The discrepancy has led to concerns that Scotland's already high level of suicide among young men could increase.

According to the study, treatment could improve and more could be done to lessen the stigma attached to the condition.

Barriers to effective care highlighted in the report include:

  • a lack of public awareness that depression is a medical illness

  • people have difficulty in expressing themselves to their GPs

  • problems in accessing services directly.

The survey revealed problems with alcohol, drugs and aggression are more prevalent among men who experience depression.

Men are also more likely to report sexual problems associated with depression.

Ilena Brown, co-ordinator for Depression Alliance Scotland, said: "Our findings confirm that there are still major barriers in Scotland when seeking to encourage men with depression to seek help.

"It is of particular concern that the major barrier would appear to be the stigma associated with depression, and other forms of mental illness, and that this is preventing men from accessing treatment, which could significantly improve their quality of life and, in many cases, avert the tragedy of suicide."

She added: "The message is simple - we have to work as a society at reducing the stigma associated with depression if we are to avoid the further premature loss of life in young men."

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