Brussels residents less likely to consume antidepressants compared to other regions

Brussels residents less likely to consume antidepressants compared to other regions
Mental health. Credit: Nik Shuliahin at Unsplash

Brussels residents use fewer antidepressants than people in Flanders and Wallonia, reports Sud Presse on Tuesday.

Between 2018 and 2020, less than 11% of the capital's residents used them, compared to 12.3% in Flanders and 15.4% in Wallonia, according to a Liberal Insurance company.

Belgium's health institute, Sciensano, expected the number of Belgians on antidepressants to be unchaged between 2018 and 2020.

In 2018, 10.7% of Brussels residents used antidepressants compared to 12% in Flanders and 15.6% in Wallonia.

Remarkably, this figure remained stable in Brussels in 2019 and even decreased to 10.5% in 2020. At the same time, it increased in Flanders (from 12% to 12.3%) and in Wallonia it increased in 2019 (from 15.6% to 15.7%) before decreasing in 2020 (to 15.4%).

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But for Brussels Health Minister Alain Moron (Ecolo), these figures are not necessarily encouraging. "It is important to distinguish between the use of (mental) health care/medication and mental health status."

"In the Brussels Region, more than in other regions, there is a significant low use of care servcies. People encounter all sorts of obstacles (financial, socio-cultural, supply, etc.) that prevent them from being diagnosed with a mental illness and/or receiving the necessary medication and/or therapy."

Disadvantaged less likely to get proper treatment

The disadvantaged are discriminated against in this area, according to Maron. "Although the prevalence of depression is higher among the lower socio-economic groups, the consumption of antidepressants is lower for these same groups."

More disadvantaged groups in Brussels have a 9.5% lower risk of using antidepressants, while higher income groups have a 6.4% higher than average chance. The phenomenon is not seen in Flanders and Wallonia.

Maron stressed that the figures do not indicate "a clear increase in the use of antidepressants in 2020 in all regions."

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