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Depression is a common disorder characterized by delayed help-seeking, often remaining undetected and untreated.
We sought to estimate the proportion of adults in Kamuli District with depressive symptoms and to assess their help-seeking behaviour.
This was a population-based cross-sectional study conducted in a rural district in Uganda. Sampling of study participants was done using the probability proportional to size method. Screening for depression was done using Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). The participants who screened positive also reported on whether and where they had sought treatment. Data collected using PHQ-9 was used both as a symptom-based description of depression and algorithm diagnosis of major depression. All data analysis was done using STATA version 13.
With a cut-off score of ⩾10, 6.4% screened positive for current depressive symptoms and 23.6% reported experiencing depressive symptoms in the past 12 months. The majority of individuals who screened positive for current depression (75.6%) were females. In a crude analysis, people with lower education, middle age and low socio-economic status were more likely to have depressive symptoms. Help-seeking was low, with only 18.9% of the individuals who screened positive for current depression having sought treatment from a health worker.
Depressive symptoms are common in the study district with low levels of help-seeking practices. People with lower levels of education, low socio-economic status and those in middle age are more likely to be affected by these symptoms. Most persons with current depression had past history of depressive symptoms.