Early detection of depression has been assumed to lead to its earlier and better care. Increased depression literacy among the general population might play a vital role in the early and successful detection and treatment. We aimed to investigate depression literacy among the first year university students, to be able to compare their depression literacy with those of other previously investigated groups, we hypothesized that depression literacy might be different from other groups such as patients and other subjects from the general population. Knowledge about depression might also be different in female and male students.
This cross-sectional study was conducted among the first-year students of Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh between January and May 2018. A convenience sample of 306 students was randomly identified from a list of students obtained from the authority. Relevant sociodemographic variables were collected. Students were interviewed using the Bangla Depression Literacy scale (D-Lit Bangla). This was a semi structured interview asking for the knowledge on 20 different characteristics of depression. Collected data were analysed to estimate the mean score and 95% confidence intervals of D-Lit Bangla scores.
The mean score of the correctly identified characteristics of depression was 6.55 (95% CI = 6.31 to 6.89). Only five characteristics of depression were correctly identified by more than 50% participants, that is, sleep change (76.7%), feeling of guilt (75.2%), low self-esteem (81.8%), psychomotor changes (64.6%) and identification of famous people suffering from depression (66.7%). Only a very small portion of the participants correctly knew about psychotic symptoms and different options for the treatment of depression. There were no significant differences between male and female students in the amount and pattern of knowledge of depression.
The study revealed poor literacy status among the first-year university students of Bangladesh. Both male and female gender have similar amount of depression literacy.