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Aust Fam Physician. 2014 Mar;43(3):147-50.

Primary care monitoring of depressive symptoms in young people.

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MA, DPsych, Research Fellow, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and Headspace Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria.



Monitoring depressive symptoms and suicidality is essential in the management of depression in young people, yet routine monitoring is rare. This qualitative study sought to explore the experiences and beliefs of general practitioners about factors associated with monitoring youth depression in primary care settings.


Two focus groups with general practitioners (n = 12) were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. A semi-structured interview schedule was used.


In the primary care setting, monitoring was perceived as part of a continuum of care that begins with screening and diagnosis and as beneficial mostly in regards to informing treatment planning. Benefits and risks were reported, along with challenges and facilitators.


Monitoring youth depression in primary care settings is perceived as both beneficial and potentially risky. Monitoring tools need to inform treatment planning, be brief and fit within existing electronic software used by general practitioners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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