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Monday 26th August 2019

The effects of regular proactive contact with sufferers of depression

17th November 2011

Regular appointments with practice nurses can improve the social functioning and severity of disease in patients with depression, according to a UK trial in over 40 GP surgeries.1

The ProCEED study carried out by researchers at University College London on behalf of mental health charity Mind and published by Mind and the Royal College of Nursing - found that patients with long-term depression benefited from regular sessions with practice nurses where they could discuss treatment options and contributory factors to depression.1

The three-year trial in 42 GP surgeries offered 10 appointments with practice nurses over two years to patients with depression, in a model that nursing leaders and mental health campaigners are calling on GP practices to offer to all patients with chronic depression.1

After the 10 sessions with a practice nurse, there was an average improvement in the Beck Depression Inventory of -3.7, which was statistically significant. Patients receiving the intervention also reported improved confidence, self-esteem and social functioning. There was a -0.33 improvement in the Work and Social Adjustment Scale in patients taking part in the trial, compared with baseline.1

Practice nurses participating in the study, also said they felt more confident in treating depression after receiving training as part of the study. However, researchers found no significant difference in terms of the number of GP visits patients made with or without the intervention, and they reported mixed evidence of its cost-effectiveness.1

In light of the findings, the authors recommend that all GP practices should offer proactive care to patients with depression, either via a practice nurse or a GP with specialist interest in mental health. They also call on the RCGP to improve training for GPs in discussing depression, after patients in the study reported difficulties in talking to their doctors about issues other than medication.1,2


1. University College London. ProCEED report. 2011
2. Pulse. Practice nurse-led care 'improves depression'. Aug 2011.

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