Professor Jane Gunn1, Professor Helen Herrman1, Dr Gail Gilchrist1, A/Professor Kelsey Hegarty1, Dr Grant Blashki1, Professor Michael Kyrios2, Professor Dimity Pond3
1 The University of Melbourne
2 Swinburne University
3 Newcastle University
Grant – beyondblue
Project completion year
Having an in-depth and reliable understanding of what happens to people experiencing depressive symptoms in Australia is essential to providing excellent health care.
Diagnosis, Management and Outcomes of Depression in Primary Care (diamond) is a longitudinal study exploring the patient, practitioner and systemic factors affecting the diagnosis, management and outcomes of depression in the primary care setting.
The diamond study is the first extensive exploration of its kind in Australia. It aims to map the pathways to and from primary care for people experiencing depressive symptoms and to investigate the predictors of recovery and relapse.
Throughout 2005, we surveyed (via post) around 18,000 people aged 18 to 75 years, who had attended a GP in the previous 12 months for any reason. From this survey we recruited 791 people with depressive symptoms who agreed to be followed-up. Participants then completed surveys three, six, nine and 12 months following recruitment. We are currently beginning their two-year follow-up.
In the survey, participants are asked about their use of health services, their treatments and things to do with their lifestyle. diamond is slowing gathering a comprehensive picture of what happens for people experiencing depressive symptoms living in the community.
We also gather their views on the things that help them with their symptoms and about their interaction with the health system.
Here is what some people had to say about participating in diamond:
“It was good to be able to express views that may be difficult to put in writing, and know that what you say is validated.”
“I enjoyed being a participant and hope that it has helped in some way.”
“(the positive aspect to taking part was) the thought that I was doing something good for the community.”
“(the experience was) overall a positive one, I felt validated and that my view is important!”
Implications for policy and practice
Information from this study can be used to recommend changes to the health care system so that Australians experiencing depression are provided with accessible, responsive and effective management options to assist recovery and maintain wellbeing.
The diamond Consortium is developing and implementing a coherent and integrated research plan that will build upon the work of the diamond longitudinal study.
Other projects include:
- The diamond Consortium – Building capacity in primary mental health care research and evaluation.
- diamond 2 – The diamond cohort study – Examining depressive symptoms in primary care.