It is a little known fact that the Canadian Medical Association Journal ranks at number 8 in the list of the world’s top medical journals as judged by impact factor. So to emphasize yet again that there is no health without mental health and the global nature of healthcare, in February the Journal published a cohort study of over 5400 Australian men.
These men were over 65 years old and were enrolled in the “Health in Men study” where they were assessed for depression at baseline on the Geriatric Depression Scale. Two years later of the 339 men who scored more than 7 on the rating scale 152 (44.8%) had at least one non-psychiatric emergency hospital admission compared to 1164 of 5072 (22.9%) non depressed men.
The depressive symptoms also predicted whether these men were admitted to hospital (for non-psychiatric conditions), the number of admissions and the total length of stay. The system of separating mental health care from other aspects of health care is anachronistic and can no longer be supported by the evidence. Once funders recognize that taking into account the whole person improves quality and reduces costs this separation will increasingly be seen to be out of date and a sign of organizational stigma.