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Training programme helps GPs identify depression in young people

A GP training programme to detect depression in young people improves detection rates in practices, say UK researchers.

The study

Offering the Therapeutic Identification of Depression in Young People (TIDY) programme in four practices was assessed. The programme involves a ‘semi-structured approach’ to systematic clinical screening, with training for GPs on shifting the focus of the consultation from a physical focus to an emotional one, a general psychiatric screen and offering interventions. A brief intervention, mainly based on cognitive behavioural therapy, was also used. GPs were required to use the TIDY method with all attenders ages 13 to 17 years, who consulted for any reason during the 16-week pre-training period. This implementation was repeated for the 16-week post-training period. The researchers then searched the electronic medical records to identify the proportion of adolescents consulting and identified as depressed during the 16-weeks before and 16-weeks after TIDY training. Changes in GP attitudes were also assessed.

The findings

The results of the study showed that overall identification rates of adolescent depression increased from 0.5% in those aged 13 to 17 years before training, to 2% thereafter. Identification was significantly associated with the GP’s knowledge of mental health problems and psychological stressors. GPs had a ‘significant improvement in self-perceived confidence in recognising depression’ when comparing the self-completion questionnaires prior to TIDY training to questionnaires post-training.

What does this mean for GPs?

The authors noted ‘clinical confidence was improved by the intervention’ and added ‘this feasibility study demonstrates that the TIDY method can be learned and implemented by self-selected primary care practitioners with only two training sessions, and therefore with minimal additional resources’.

Journal of Adolescent Health 2013, online

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