Depression program costs little

November 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health have found that an inexpensive program that trains primary care providers to work with patients and mental health specialists to diagnose and properly treat depression can reduce the time that participating patients spend clinically depressed. Over a two-year period, the program reduced the duration of participating patients' depression by well over a month. The training program cost less than $500 per depressed patient and increased the time that the depressed patients spent employed during that two-year period by about four work weeks.

Researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health have found that an inexpensive program that trains primary care providers to work with patients and mental health specialists to diagnose and properly treat depression can reduce the time that participating patients spend clinically depressed. Over a two-year period, the program reduced the duration of participating patients' depression by well over a month. The training program cost less than $500 per depressed patient and increased the time that the depressed patients spent employed during that two-year period by about four work weeks.

"This study shows that reducing the suffering that depression brings to nearly 19 million Americans a year, in a cost-effective way, is an achievable goal," said NIMH Director Steven E. Hyman.

Forty-six primary care clinics in six managed care organizations participated in the study. The clinics were located in geographically and socioeconomically diverse communities across the United States. The research team randomly assigned the clinics to conduct depression care as they usually would or to participate in one of two interventions, which offered training to clinicians, patients and nurses, and resources to obtain effective medication or psychotherapy for depression. Researchers identified 1,356 patients with current depression through screening 27,332 consecutive patients. PR

Related Content:

News