Menopause

May 2011

Research

Indigenous community care

Documented depression in patients with diabetes

Volume 40, No.5, May 2011 Pages 331-333

Damin Si

Michelle Dowden

Catherine Kennedy

Rhonda Cox

Lynette O’Donoghue

Helen Liddle

Ru Kwedza

Christine Connors

Sandra Thompson

Hugh Burke

Alex Brown

Tarun Weeramanthri

Gill Shierhout

Ross Bailie

Aim

This article reports on documented levels of depression among people with diabetes attending indigenous primary care centres.

Methods

Between 2005 and 2009, clinical audits of diabetes care were conducted in 62 indigenous community health centres from four Australian states and territories.

Results

The overall prevalence of documented depression among people with diabetes was 8.8%. Fourteen (23%) of the 62 health centres had no record of either diagnosed depression or prescription of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors among people with diabetes. For the remaining 48 centres, 3.3–36.7% of people with diabetes had documented depression.

Discussion

The results of this study are inconsistent with the evidence showing high prevalence of mental distress among indigenous people. A more thorough investigation into the capacity, methods and barriers involved in diagnosing and managing depression in indigenous primary care is needed.

Evidence, both internationally1 and from Australian general practice settings2 shows that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Among those with diabetes, coexisting depression is associated with a 50% increased mortality risk.3 In Australia, the prevalence of diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is at least two times higher than in non-Indigenous Australians, as is the prevalence of reported high or very high levels of psychological distress.4 However, little is known about the prevalence of depression among Indigenous Australians with diabetes. The aim of this study is to examine documented levels of depression among people with diabetes who attend indigenous primary care centres.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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