Characteristics of Israeli Primary Health Care Physicians who Treat Depression
Jonathan Rabinowitz, Dina Feldman, Revital Gross, Wienka Boerma
Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan; Israel Ministry of Health; JDC-Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem; and Netherlands Institute of Primary Health Care (NIVEL)
Primary health care physicians have a pivotal role in treating mental health problems. We determined the proportion of primary care physicians in Israel who treat depression and their characteristics. The study was based on a stratified national random sample of primary care physicians (n677, response rate 78%). From these physicians' reports 22% always treat depression, 36.6% usually, 28.6% sometimes, and 12.6% never. Based on a logistic regression model the physicians who always or usually treated depression were distinguished from the other physicians by their treating more medical conditions on their own, seeing themselves as having more first contact for psychosocial problems, having frequent contact with social workers and specializing in family medicine. Primary health care physicians play a major role in treating depression on their own. This raises new questions about how they treat depression themselves, and under what circumstances they treat or refer to a specialist.