Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health, in partnership with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait primary care providers conducted the validation study in 10 urban, rural and remote primary health services across Australia.
The screening tool is an adapted version of the existing 9-item patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) used across Australia and globally accepted as an effective screening method for depression.
The adapted tool (aPHQ-9) contains culturally-appropriate questions asking about mood, appetite, sleep patterns, energy and concentration levels. It is hoped the adapted questionnaire will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of depression in Aboriginal communities.
Lead researcher Professor Maree Hackett, of The George Institute for Global Health, said mental health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been overlooked, dismissed and marginalised for too long.