Physicians, patients mum on mental health issues

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Despite the high frequency of depression and mental illness among the elderly, a new study has found that doctors do not spend a lot of time on these issues with patients.

More than 50% of patients simply do not speak with their doctors about their mental health, authors say. It became a topic of discussion in about a fifth of the visits overall.

Patients who do discuss feeling of depression with their doctors have reported that sometimes the doctors' response is ineffective or worse than the problem, the report says. The study, from Texas A&M's School of Rural Public Health, appeared in the December issue of The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.