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DiNapoli EA, Cully JA, Mott JM, Hundt NE, Mignogna J, Sansgiry S, Yu HJ, Trahan LH, Kunik ME. Mental health utilization among older Veterans with coexisting depression and dementia. SAGE open medicine. 2015 Jan 8; 3(1):2050312114566488.
OBJECTIVE: We compared mental health service utilization among older, depressed Veterans (60 years or older) with and without coexisting dementia. METHODS: This retrospective study examined data from the 2010 Veterans Health Administration National Patient Care Database outpatient treatment files of Veterans with a newly recognized diagnosis of depression (N = 177,710). RESULTS: Approximately 48.84% with coexisting depression and dementia and 32.00% with depression only received mental health services within 12 months of diagnosis (p < .0001). Veterans with coexisting depression and dementia were more likely to receive medication-management appointments (33.40% vs 20.62%), individual therapy (13.39% vs 10.91%), and family therapy (3.77% vs 1.19%) than depressed Veterans without dementia. CONCLUSION: In general, Veterans with recently diagnosed depression are significantly underusing Veterans Affairs mental health treatment services. Those Veterans who have comorbid dementia are more likely than those with just depression to be enrolled in mental health treatments. Systemic improvements are needed to increase use of mental health services for older, depressed Veterans.