Over 30,000 residents may be in need of mental health services, according to a survey conducted by the University of Macau (UM), which also showed that depression in Macau is more prevalent than in Hong Kong and the mainland.
According to The Macau Post Daily citing the findings of the survey, a UM statement released on Friday said depression was most prevalent among women throughout their lives, senior citizens (aged over 65), and middle-aged men. The findings show that key correlates of depression are unemployment, divorce, poor health, and low levels of social capital.
According to the statement, “The prevalence of depression in Macau is higher than observed in published studies from neighbouring Hong Kong and in mainland China.”
The statement also noted that “depression and other mental disorders are often neglected since, unlike cancer, they are ‘invisible’ illnesses. They are also often stigmatised, especially within the Chinese context.”
The findings also suggest that a treatment gap exists in Macau – the number of people who need high-quality, culturally appropriate, evidence-based psychological treatment is higher than the number of providers available to deliver these treatments.
According to the statement, the survey was the first population representative study of depression in Macau, conducted by Brian Hall, assistant professor of the Department of Psychology of the university’s Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) and his Global and Community Mental Health Research Group.
The statement also said the survey was conducted in 2015 via telephone interviews, involving a total of 1,068 residents aged 18 or above who responded to the survey.
According to official figures, Macau’s population stood at 648,400 at the end of June.