Implementing an Evidence-Based Depression Treatment Program for Adults with Comorbid Depression and Chronic Illness
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Depression is a prevalent problem globally and affects mental, emotional, and physical health. Multiple studies have shown that unrecognized or untreated depression strongly correlates with chronic illnesses. Understanding this phenomenon is crucial for appropriate and effective screening and treatment for depressive disorder and the physical illness. Screening guidelines must be put in place to improve the recognition of depression in primary care. This study implemented an evidence-based screening and treatment program for adults with comorbid depression and chronic illness, and then evaluated the program’s effectiveness. Unique challenges were presented during this study, as the clinic closed before the initially planned end of the study, cutting the study short by two months. There was also the challenge of assessing depression during a pandemic, when quarantine measures were in place, causing many people to be isolated. Many appointments were also conducted via telehealth, making an adequate evaluation of depression difficult. There was an improvement in PHQ-9 scores, with a pre-intervention PHQ-9 mean score of 5.82 and a post-intervention PHQ-9 score of 4.64. Improving depression treatment will help increase control of chronic illnesses and improve quality of life.
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