ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A new study finds that women are more likely than men to seek help for mental health issues.

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science found that women tend to seek out help for mental health issues sooner than men, according to Time.

The researchers analyzed data they collected from people who were diagnosed with at least one of four illnesses. The illnesses the researchers looked for were diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers defined “mental health services” as at least one visit to a physician or specialist for mental health reasons. Mental health reasons were classified as depression, anxiety, smoking addiction, or marital difficulties.

“Our results don’t necessarily mean that more focus should be paid to women, however,” Flora Matheson, a scientist in the hospital’s Center for Research on Inner City Health, and the study’s author, told Time. “We still need more research to understand why this gender divide exists.”

The researchers could only suggest various conclusions as to how different sexes use mental health services.

“Chronic physical illness can lead to depression,” Matheson told Time. “We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of 20 Americans 12 years of age and older reported current depression in 2005-2006.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal’s Journal of Epidemiology & community Health.

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