Aim: To measure the rate of detected and undetected depression in patients attending an Auckland general practice.
Method: At their consultation conclusion, general practitioners (GPs) asked all consecutive patients over sixteen years attending for consultation to participate in a health and mood questionnaire. A researcher administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to consenting participants. The GPs previously recorded whether they considered these patients depressed.
Results: Response rate among patients was 81% (253/314). The BDI found a 13.8% (35/253) 95% CI (9.6-18.5) depression prevalence among patients. GPs picked up 51% of cases (sensitivity 0.51 and specificity 0.91). Mäori patients were no more likely to be depressed than non-Mäori but they were less likely to be receiving or have received treatment with antidepressants.
Conclusion: The rate of depression in this practice was higher than an earlier study suggesting the true rate may be >10%. GPs see more depressed patients than other health professionals, therefore improvement in detection and management of depression in primary care is important. More work is needed on the difference between Mäori and non-Mäori in the use of antidepressants.