Background Prescribing of antidepressants varies widely between European countries despite no evidence of difference in the prevalence of affective disorders. Aims To investigate associations between the use of antidepressants, country-level spending on healthcare and country-level attitudes towards mental health problems. Method We used Eurobarometer 2010, a large general population survey from 27 European countries, to measure antidepressant use and regularity of use. We then analysed the associations with country-level spending on healthcare and country-level attitudes towards mental health problems. Results Higher country spending on healthcare was strongly associated with regular use of antidepressants. Beliefs that mentally ill people are 'dangerous' were associated with higher use, and beliefs that they 'never recover' or 'have themselves to blame' were associated with lower and less regular use of antidepressants. Conclusions Contextual factors, such as healthcare spending and public attitudes towards mental illness, may partly explain variations in antidepressant use and regular use of these medications.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015.