Ask an Expert: Depression in the World
< Ask an Expert: All Topics
- How has the medical field historically viewed depression? [1:07]
- Do the United States' public policies adequately address depression treatment? [1:21]
- How do other countries manage depression care? [1:43]
- How will we understand and treat depression in the future? [1:02]
Learn more about depression in the world:
Depression Statistics: English version (PDF, 644k) Spanish version (PDF, 776k)
Depression in Communities of Color: English version (PDF, 636k) Spanish version (PDF, 772k)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: www.dbsalliance.org
American Psychological Association public policy section: www.apa.org/ppo/pi
National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.nami.org
How do other countries manage depression care?
DR. CHARLES NEMEROFF: There is a-- a tremendous discrepancy between psychiatric care provided in The United States and those in other countries. So if the situation you just described to me of someone living in poverty becomes depressed, despondent, and is thinking about suicide, and they're living in Copenhagen or they're living in Stockholm or they're living in Amsterdam, and they go see their family physician, they are admitted to a psychiatric hospital where they will stay for, pick a number, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, as long as necessary to treat them appropriately.
The length of stay in our psychiatric hospitals is, on average, seven days, eight days. And then the insurance companies force us to discharge patients before they're well. So for people with really severe depression, there's a revolving door in which they-- they get somewhat stabilized. But what-- the way I would like to treat a patient would be to admit them, to take them off of all of their medications, to assess them for a few days, to actually be able to see what their diagnosis really is, then to develop a treatment plan, both pharmacologically and psychosocially to involve vocational rehabilitation, to involve the family, to involve their significant others, to put together a comprehensive treatment plan the way it's done in other countries.