Year: 2015 Source: International Journal of Social Psychiatry.(2015).61(5):446-455.doi:10.1177/0020764014552865 SIEC No: 20150433

Disclosure of mental distress to physicians is important for mental illness identification, early referrals and proper treatment to prevent suicide. Little is known about what affects mental health communication in the clinical settings in the Chinese societies. We interviewed a series of consecutive inpatients from two medical wards of a general hospital in northern Taiwan. We collected depressive symptoms (the Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9), living arrangement, threatening life events, suicide risks (i.e. past self-harm history, lifetime suicide ideas and hopelessness) and recent experience of mental distress disclosure. Furthermore, we explored the reasons of non-disclosure. Communication of mental distress in medical settings was uncommon due to medical or psychosocial barriers in Taiwan. Skill training to facilitate disclosure in medical education and public campaigns to improve knowledge of depression and enhance help-seeking deserve more attention, particularly under the influence of stigma in the Chinese societies.