Many may seek out help from mental health services. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) showed that women were quicker to get help for a problem than men.
For the study, researchers examined data taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey, which consisted of ICES’ inpatient medical records and physician claims. All participants in the survey were between the ages of 18 and 74 and followed over a 10-year-period from 2002 to 2011. Researchers studied the effects of four physical illnesses on people’s use of mental health services, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
“Chronic physical illness can lead to depression,” said Dr. Flora Matheson, a scientist in the hospital’s Center for Research on Inner City Health, via a news release. “We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care.”
Findings revealed that women who suffered from at least one to four illnesses were up to 10 percent more likely than men who dealt with the same problems to seek out help faster. Furthermore, they discovered that within any three-year time span, women with physical illnesses sought out care six months earlier than men typically did.
“Our results don’t necessarily mean that more focus should be paid to women, however,” said Dr. Matheson, who is also an adjunct scientist at ICES, via Medical Xpress. “We still need more research to understand why this gender divide exists.” Certain stigmas still remain around mental health services.
Though researchers were unable to determine exactly why these gender differences existed, they said they believe that women might be more comfortable seeking help than men for mental health issues.
Source: Scientific World Report/ Time