Research projects

Multicultural Information on Depression online (MIDonline): Development of an IT resource to improve depression literacy and assist in pathways to mental health care for people of CALD backgrounds

Principal researchers

Dr Litza Kiropoulos1, Associate Professor Kathy Griffiths2, Dr Grant Blashki3

Institution

1 Department of General Practice, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University

2 ehub: emental health Research & Development, Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University

3 Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne

Funding

$200,000

Award type

beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence

Project completion year

2008

Project brief

At the commencement of this study, there were no internet-based information sources specific to depression, to support people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Australia. This project established a website, MIDonline, to inform older people from Greek and Italian backgrounds about depression and evaluated its impact on reducing depression-related stigma.

The project examined how the website material affected measured levels of depression, knowledge of depression and personal and perceived stigma in 129 Greek-born and 73 Italian-born Australians, with a mean age of 65 years. Levels of depression and perceived stigma were assessed either:

  • before and after the MIDonline intervention
  • before and after a depression interview control intervention. 

Levels of depression and perceived stigma were assessed again one week after the intervention or control interview.

Key findings

The study found that:

  • Viewing the MIDonline website intervention significantly increased depression literacy among both the Greek-born and Italian-born participants at post-intervention and one-week follow-up periods, relative to the depression interview control group.
  • Viewing the MIDonline website intervention significantly reduced personal stigma related to depression in Greek-born and Italian-born people at the post-intervention and one-week follow-up periods.
  • There was no difference between the MIDonline intervention and the depression interview control intervention on perceived stigma levels (that is perception of what most other people believe) related to depression in Greek-born and Italian-born people.
  • The MIDonline website intervention significantly reduced levels of depression and anxiety in Greek and Italian-born people at post-intervention and one-week follow-up periods compared to the depression interview control group.

Implications for policy, practice and further research

The study indicates that the internet may be a valuable tool in increasing knowledge about and reducing levels of depression among middle-aged and older CALD Australians.  Websites such as MIDonline may help to provide accessible information that can reduce the impact of depression among CALD communities. The widespread reach and availability of the internet suggest it may also be effective in broadcasting information about other health and mental health information and strategies targeting CALD people, their carers and health professionals.

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