Going through the symptoms and far-reaching personal, professional, and social consequences of depression is often a difficult experience, prompting many people to seek the care of mental health workers in one capacity or another. In Germany, a large number of people afflicted with thoughts and feelings of depression begin and end their report of the concern with their general practice physician. This trend is often capable of helping to provide specialized care when needed, but can also fall short of delivering the attention and tools that can help clients overcome depression. Recently, a team of German researchers has tested the efficacy of a simple intervention measure that can be used by general practice offices to help those with depression.
The study instructed trained personnel from participating practices to follow up with clients a month after their general practice visit, assessing depression-related issues and engaging in a discussion about relevant events, thoughts, and feelings. The intervention measure was designed to reinforce the idea that clients are not alone and have a clear path towards assistance if desired. The researchers posit that the phone calls may also be an important element of encouraging self-care, helping to cut down on rates of self-harm and destructive or negligent behaviors.
The research team collected positive results from the study, finding that those clients who were contacted following their general practice visit showed greater signs of mental well-being. The intervention measure may quickly be employed both in Germany and around the world, especially in other areas where general practice doctors encounter high instances of depression that is not treated through a mental health specialist. Easy to implement and maintain, the measure is likely to find a high degree of success in the field.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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