The age and gender distributions in the three interview groups are shown in Table . The proportion of young people was notably larger among cases without contact with mental health care. The difference in age and gender distribution among the groups was taken into consideration in further analyses.
Participants in the face-to-face interview. Demographic characteristics in cases with and without mental health care contact and in mentally healthy.
Recognition of depression
Less than one third of the respondents recognized depression (Figure ). Twenty per cent indicated that the problem described in the vignette was due to stress and another 20% considered it a day-to-day problem. The responses to the open-ended question "What is wrong" did not differ significantly between the three interview groups. Twenty-three respondents fulfilled criteria for present major depressive episode in accordance with SCAN and 39% of these recognized that the vignette depicted depression (n.s. compared to the rest of the respondents).
Perceived problem in response to vignette depicting depression. Open ended responses shown for subgroups with and without contact for mental health problems, and for mentally healthy.
More women than men correctly recognized depression, 36% versus 21% (p = 0.002). A larger proportion of the youngest age group (20–34) recognized depression, 42% compared to 24% (p = 0.001) in the two older age groups. Among the respondents, 59 were women aged 20–34, of these 52% recognized depression, which was better than in females in the older age groups, 31% (p = 0.003), and also better than in males in the young age group, 28% (p = 0.013). The multiple regression model was in line with the above results. Female sex (OR 2.07, p = 0.006), younger age (OR 1.99, p = 0.028), and higher education (OR 1.85, p = 0.025) predicted recognition. History of mental health care did not predict recognition in the regression model.
Best form of help
About one third of the participants in each interview group responded that the best form of help would be to seek counselling (Table ) and counselling was the most common response to that open-ended question. While one fifth of those with mental health contact suggested that the person in the vignette would be best helped by a GP, proportions suggesting a GP were significantly lower in the other two interview groups. Persons with mental health contact were less likely to respond that family or close friend would constitute the best form of help. Very few of the respondents considered a psychiatrist the best source of help; there was no difference among interview groups. Medication was seldom considered the best form of help. Work-related interventions were preferred by 15% of the total group. Again, there were no differences among groups.
Best form of help – responses to open-ended question
When results for the total group were examined separately by sex, women were more likely than men, 16% versus 5% (p = 0.003) to suggest contact with a GP as the best form of help.
Helpfulness of listed interventions
The top five interventions rated as helpful were relaxation techniques, talking to family or close friends, physical activity, psychotherapy, and consulting a psychologist. The ratings for each intervention are presented by subgroup in Table . Cases without mental health contact more often rated family or close friends as helpful compared to cases with such contact. Three quarters of those with mental health contact rated antidepressants as helpful, a proportion larger than that in the other two interview groups (50% in each group). Sixty-three persons were on antidepressants at the time of the interview and 90% of these rated antidepressants as helpful compared to 51% among all others (p = 0.000). One fifth of the respondents thought that antidepressants could be harmful, 31% among cases without contact and 26% among mentally healthy, compared to only 8% among cases with mental health care contact (p = 0.000). No significant differences could be shown for sex or age on this topic. Thirty-nine respondents had some form of ongoing psychosocial intervention and/or formal psychotherapy at the time of the interview (data retrieved from the SCAN interview), and of these 92% rated psychotherapy as helpful for the person in the vignette, compared to 74% (p = 0.000) among the rest of the respondents.
Percentage of respondents who rated listed interventions as helpful.
Table shows further that one fifth of the cases with mental health contact rated admission to a psychiatric ward as helpful; this proportion was significantly larger than that for cases without contact. Almost sixty percent (57.8%) rated admission to a psychiatric ward as harmful; there were no significant differences among groups. The youngest age group was most negative, 71% compared to 53% for the rest of the respondents (p = 0.001).
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) was rated as harmful by 71%, cases without contact rated ECT as harmful in 80% compared to 62% among cases with contact (p = 0.006). The youngest age group (20–34) was most negative towards ECT, 82% compared to 66% for the rest of the respondents (p = 0.002). An occasional drink was the intervention most commonly rated as harmful. At the time of the interview 20 persons fulfilled SCAN criteria for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, of these 65% rated an occasional drink as harmful compared to 87% among the rest of the respondents (p = 0.004).
Ratings of prognosis
The participants were asked to give their opinion about the prognosis with and without the intervention they had indicated as most appropriate in response to the open-ended question. Eighty-four per cent believed that there would be full recovery or full recovery with risk of relapse with appropriate help (Table ). No significant differences could be detected among interview groups. In the alternative without intervention, 16% believed in full recovery or full recovery with risk of relapse. These replies were much more common among cases without contact compared to cases with contact (23% versus 8%, p = 0.002). One third (31%) believed that there would be progression of symptoms without appropriate support; there were no differences among groups.
Anticipated prognosis with and without treatment