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.
This article reports on documented
levels of depression among people with
diabetes attending indigenous primary
Between 2005 and 2009, clinical audits
of diabetes care were conducted in 62
indigenous community health centres
from four Australian states and territories.
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
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.
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