News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Brief mental health programme assists patients, GPs


Thursday 10 November 2011

Brief mental health intervention programme assists patients and GPs

A big difference to the mental health of New Zealanders could be achieved by introducing a promising brief guided self-help intervention programme administered by GPs.

The innovative primary care study by the University of Otago, Wellington shows that ultra brief self-help interventions may be effective for many people who go to their GP with common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or substance misuse.

“There’re thousands of people who have mental health problems which impact on their lives, but which aren’t of the kind usually seen by a specialist, who can be helped through a brief programme administered by their GP or practice nurse,” says study leader Professor Sunny Collings.

“This research shows for the first time in New Zealand that guided self-help interventions can really help with work and role functioning, as well as psychological distress brought on by poor mental health. Most importantly this can be delivered in the primary care setting without having to refer outside the practice.”

The study investigated the response of patients who took part in a locally designed five week programme involving three brief sessions with a trained primary care professional. The intervention was designed with input from primary care experts and potential patients, as well as secondary care mental health specialists.

“The results are very promising; after the five week course and a further review by the GP we saw statistically significant gains,” says Collings. “There was an improvement in the health status of all the participants, with scores for mental health problems dropping significantly, and benefits persisting three months later.”

Collings says the study shows that the significant need to help people with mental health problems in the community can be addressed at the primary care level through the use of brief but structured intervention programmes, which both doctors and patient understand. The intervention has the potential to make a significant contribution to primary mental health care in New Zealand.

“The big advantage of this type of intervention is it means GPs are able to confidently provide assistance once they’ve been through a short training course, patients enjoy it and feel they are making progress, and the health system doesn’t have to spend money on further specialist treatment.”

Professor Collings says the programme may also prevent people with sub-threshold mental health problems actually getting worse and requiring more intensive input. She plans further testing of the intervention on a larger sample, with a randomized controlled trial before full clinical application.

This project was funded by the Health Research Council and has been published in the international journal Family Practice.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books Q&A: Historian Vincent O’Malley

There is quite a lot of ignorance of the basic facts of New Zealand history because so few people learn anything about it at school and that is fully evident whenever anything on these issues is published in the media, such as Stuff’s wonderful recent series about the Treaty... More>>

Howard Davis: NZSO Perform Beethoven's Symphonies 1 & 9 This Weekend

When we consider how prodigious Beethoven's musical output was - including nine symphonies, five piano concertos, a violin concerto, various piano sonatas, sixteen string quartets, a mass, and an opera - it is a truly remarkable achievement that only twenty-four years separated the premieres of his first and final symphonies. More>>

2021: NZ To Host Women’s Rugby World Cup

New Zealand’s successful bid to host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup will raise the profile of the game locally and provide a valuable economic boost for the game, Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Max Rashbrooke Review: Mahler 7 - NZSO

Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony may be one of the least well-known of its ilk, but Edo de Waart and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra made a compelling case for a reassessment. They showed us a work of immense variety, surprising contrast and delicate shades of light and dark. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland