Objectives This study aimed to estimate the trends in the prevalence and treatment of depressive symptoms using nationally representative surveys in Peru from 2014 to 2018. Design A secondary analysis was conducted using five nationally representative surveys carried out consecutively in the years between 2014 and 2018. Setting The study was conducted in Peru. Participants Individuals, men and women, aged ≥15 years who participated in the selected surveys. Sampling was probabilistic using a two-stage approach. Main outcome measures Two versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) that focused on the presence of depressive symptoms were administered (one in the last 2 weeks and other in the last year). Scores ≥15 were used as the cut-off point in both versions of the PHQ-9 to define the presence of depressive symptoms. Also, the treatment rate was based on the proportion of individuals who had experienced depressive symptoms in the last year and who had self-reported having received specific treatment for these symptoms. The age-standardised prevalence was estimated. Results A total of 161 061 participants were included. There was no evidence of a change in age-standardised prevalence rates of depressive symptoms at the 2 weeks prior to the point of data collection (2.6% in 2014 to 2.3% in 2018), or in the last year (6.3% in 2014 to 6.2% in 2018). Furthermore, no change was found in the proportion of depressive cases treated in the last year (14.6% in 2014 to 14.4% in 2018). Rural areas and individuals with low-level of wealth had lower proportion of depressive cases treated. Conclusions No changes in trends of rates of depressive symptoms or in the proportion of depressive cases treated were observed. This suggests the need to reduce the treatment gap considering social determinants associated with inequality in access to adequate therapy.
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