Regarding Joseph Conn's "Software helps docs ID depression":
The statistic that just 1.25% of family physician patients self-report depression tells only part of the story.
Unfortunately, depression is one of the most serious and undertreated conditions in the country. Many individuals with depression, anxiety and other serious mental health disorders have no health insurance and rarely, if ever, visit a family physician.
The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 28% of the population have a mental or addictive disorder, but only 15% use mental health services in any one year.
Fortunately, in addition to the new automated diagnosis software described in the article, there are other kinds of new Web-based technologies that hold promise for individuals suffering from mental health disorders.
MySpace-type social networking sites for depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder sufferers, although relatively new, are now attracting millions of viewers a month. These sites offer members a sense of community, and a nonjudgmental atmosphere where they can find support and discuss concerns openly.
Surveys of members on our four social networking sites reveal that many have no health insurance or live in rural areas where professional mental healthcare is unavailable or treatment is heavily stigmatized.
Ryan FitzGeraldCo-founderWebTribesInc.comWestwood, Calif. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.