General Practitioners mismanage depression of patients: Ndjaba

10 Oct 2017 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 OCT (NAMPA) – Depression is a common mental disorder at the workplace because people do not want to seek treatment, a local psychiatrist has said.
Head of Department at the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) Mental Health Care Unit, Hilen Ndjaba said this here Tuesday during the observation of World Mental Health Day under the theme ‘Mental health in the workplace’.
“They fear their managers will label them a threat to their colleagues,” she said.
According to recent World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, 10 per cent of the employed population globally has taken time off due to depression, while 50 per cent of people with depression are untreated.
Ndjaba said some General Practitioners (GPs) mismanage depression of their patients.
“Because the GP gets his or her income from the patient, they keep holding them by prescribing addictive anti-depressants without referring them to a psychiatrist,” she stated.
She emphasised that at the MoHSS mental centres, mental health professionals perform a ‘biopsychosocial approach’.
“We assess to see whether there is a need for medication, whether there is a need for cognitive behavioural therapy and other therapy, whether there is a need for social intervention, or whether there is a need for an occupational therapist intervention,” she said.
This is the best treatment approach as medication alone will not work, said Ndjaba.
She noted that up to 80 per cent of those treated usually improve within four to six weeks.
WHO Representative, Charles Sagoe-Moses said in a speech read on his behalf that depression is preventable if diagnosed early.
Sagoe-Moses stated that World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to start conversations about mental health in the workplace to promote best practices, decrease negative attitudes and empower individuals.
“Since most working people spend over 60 per cent of their working hours at work, mental health at work is at the heart of daily social interactions,” he said.
The WHO recognises World Mental Health Day annually on 10 October with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.