Minnesota’s “Diamond” Program Improves Treatment for Depression

While many people work with a therapist or counselor to overcome depression, there are some for whom depression is only addressed at their primary care clinic. Last week, new research came out showing that primary care physicians trained in cognitive behavioral therapy could have a significant influence on how well their patients recovered from depression and anxiety. But primary care treatment, like every other time of treatment, is much less successful if people don’t keep up with their treatment.

A new program, pioneered in Minnesota in 2008, is now spreading state- and nation-wide because it has been able to improve the number of people staying with treatment, and also improve how well they recover. It’s called Diamond, and its premise is simple. Following up with patients treated for depression improves their recovery rates six months out. Clinic employees call patients to check in and see how things are going. They ask whether the person is taking any prescribed medications and whether they’re experiencing any side effects. And perhaps even more importantly, they coach the person on coping with symptoms of depression. Human follow up has been proving quite effective, both anecdotally and statistically. Anecdotally, patients report feeling much better knowing someone is calling to check in, and even recommend using a similar approach for chronic physical illnesses. Statistically, clinics participating in the Diamond program had a higher rate of follow-through (patients kept subsequent appointments and stayed in touch with staff), and patients who were called had a lower rate of depression symptoms six months out than those who weren’t.

The Diamond program has been replicated in clinics across Minnesota and is starting to be implemented in other states, as well. The effectiveness of the program reinforces the importance of human connection and support in overcoming depression. This helps support primary care treatment, and offers an especially strong case for counseling and talk therapy as a means for overcoming depression in the long term.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • P.Donalds

    P.Donalds

    June 29th, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Its always good to have someone remind you of things and to constantly ask you to take care of yourself,it really does feel good.

    Moreover,this program is a sure-hit with people who are lonely or have no friends,it gives them a feeling like there is someone who is checking on their health and stuff.

  • Carson

    Carson

    June 30th, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    Would be great if more states would follow this trend

  • Pete Blake

    Pete Blake

    December 15th, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    I have personal experience how important the human touch is to one’s mental health, years ago i had a major car accident lost my job etc, this situation lasted 2 years. Instead of sitting at home i volunteered to visit an elderly person in my neighborhood for 2 hours a week maybe more. When i first went Reg my friend was totally in need of outside assistance meals housework, the lot. He had been receiving heaps of medication and had received up 10 treatments of electro convulsive therapy! He was in a real bad way! After 2 years he was totally self sufficient in his personal,home a business affairs, drove across the country twice, re established his position of his local ex servicman’s organization! Miracles do happen but your got to have passion and believe in the goodness of your quest! I said to Reg one day “mate when you die to amongst your family and loved ones”, he traveled back to the UK and died at his Sisters House. Reg was in the British 6th Division Parachute Regiment! He was involved in the time of the DDay landing and involved in the liberation of Belgium and Holland! I it was a my personal honor to help this man as he had helped humanity in their hours of need! When you visit remember the ancient Latin saying
    Omni Vinci Amor LOVE CONQUERS ALL
    Hope you are all having a great day, were i am its beautiful warm and sunny!!
    WARM REGARDS PETE

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