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Research on Depression in the Workplace.

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Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's

MHM Volume 8 Issue1

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If you are a journalist writing a story contact Kayla on 011 234 4837  media@anxiety.org.za


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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.

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A recent study in the United States has revealed that many patients suffering from depression who are high utilisers of medical services, will respond well to treatment afforded by physicians who consult closely with psychiatrists.

According to Dr David Katzelnick of the University of Wisconsin, closer working relationships between physicians and psychiatrists can bring about effective treatment programmes and enhance treatment compliance among patients. “The driving concept should be that primary care physicians regard psychiatrists and other mental health professionals as they do other specialists for other diseases, such as gastroenterologists for non-healing ulcers”, says Dr Katzelnick.

In a pilot research study conducted at two primary care clinics in the United States, the financial benefits of closer liaison between medical professionals have been highlighted, both for patients and medical aid and insurance companies. It was found that primary care physicians who asked for increasing levels of psychiatric support (depending on patient response), were able to effectively halve the utilisation of medical services by depression patients with a history of high medical service use.

Of a screening sample of 100 000 patients, 10 461 were defined as high utilisers of medical services (averaging seven to eight visits to medical service providers each year). Of the high-utilisers, 14% suffered from major depression. The research study involved randomly assigning patients into a depression management program or merely informing them of their diagnosis. The depression management program made use of primary care physicians to diagnose and treat patients with antidepressants for ten weeks. After ten weeks, if there were no signs of improvement, the physician consulted with a psychiatrist – if improvement continued to be unsatisfactory, patients were referred to psychiatrists for further treatment. The program also included a co-ordinator who ensured that patients filled prescriptions and attended follow-up visits, and also made use of extensive educational material in the way of books and videos. After six months of follow-up, the proportion of patients treated in the management program who remained in remission was significantly higher than those not treated in the program.


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