Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 239–244 | Cite as

The State of Readiness of Lagos State Primary Health Care Physicians to Embrace the Care of Depression in Nigeria

  • Bola Ola
  • Jim Crabb
  • Abiodun Adewuya
  • Femi Olugbile
  • Olayinka A. Abosede
Brief Report


Globally there is a huge treatment gap for common mental disorders such as depression. Key to improving access to treatment will be the attitudes held towards depression by those physicians who work in Primary Care. This study aimed to explore Lagos State’s Primary Care Physicians’ attitudes towards depression and their views regarding their current working practices. A survey of 41 (82 %) Primary Care Physicians in Lagos State who, after written consent, completed the Depression Attitude Questionnaire which assessed their knowledge and attitude towards the causes, consequences and treatment of depression. The largest part of the sample (37.5 %) estimated that between 5 and 10 % of the patients they saw over a 3 months period would have depression while one in four perceived rates of depression seen to be between 31 and 40 %. Close to half (40 %) of them felt that fewer than 5 % of these depressed patients they saw would need antidepressants and a large part (82.9 %) of them agreed that becoming depressed is a way that people with poor stamina deal with life difficulties. About half (41.6 %) of them believed it was not rewarding to look after depressed patients. Our study suggests that the current knowledge, attitudes and practices of most Lagos State primary health care physicians may be a barrier to patients with depression accessing appropriate care.


Knowledge Attitude Practice Depression Primary health care Physicians 


Conflict of interest

The authors have no competing interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bola Ola
    • 1
  • Jim Crabb
    • 2
  • Abiodun Adewuya
    • 1
  • Femi Olugbile
    • 3
  • Olayinka A. Abosede
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Behavioural MedicineLagos State University College of MedicineLagosNigeria
  2. 2.Falkirk Community HospitalFalkirkUK
  3. 3.Ministry of HealthAlausa–IkejaNigeria
  4. 4.Primary Health Care BoardAlausa–IkejaNigeria

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