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Behav Med. 2008 Fall;34(3):95-100. doi: 10.3200/BMED.34.3.95-100.

How academic psychiatry can better prepare students for their future patients. Part I: the failure to recognize depression and risk for suicide in primary care; problem identification, responsibility, and solutions.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


The author, after a review of the relevant literature, found that depression and the risk for suicide remain unacceptably underrecognized in primary care (PC). The negative consequences are substantial for patients and their physicians. Suicide prevention in PC begins with the recognition of depression because suicide occurs largely during depression. In this article (Part I), the author suggests causes, responsibilities, and solutions for that failure. He also addresses the role of academic psychiatry's traditional curriculum. The comprehensive, initial diagnostic interview that is typically taught to medical students in psychiatry may decrease recognition in PC care because of the time required to complete it. In Part II, the author offers guidelines to develop a weekly interview course with an instrument targeting abbreviated diagnostic screening for only the most critical psychiatric problems such as depression and the risk for suicide.

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