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. 2009 Mar;6(1):49-55.

Depression Recovery From the Primary Care Patient's Perspective: 'Hear It in My Voice and See It in My Eyes'

Free PMC article

Depression Recovery From the Primary Care Patient's Perspective: 'Hear It in My Voice and See It in My Eyes'

Caroline Johnson et al. Ment Health Fam Med. .
Free PMC article


Purpose This paper aims to contribute to the discussion about the concept of recovery from depression from the patient perspective.Methods A structured, computer-assisted telephone interview of 576 participants from the Australian diamond cohort study who were asked, at the one year follow-up, how they would know if someone had recovered from depression. The responses were thematically analysed using a modified grounded-theory approach.Results Participants found the question challenging on a number of levels, relating to the definition of recovery, the subjective nature of getting better from depression, pessimism about the possibility of recovery and concerns that people hide how they really feel. Participants reported observation and human interaction as crucial to deciding if recovery had occurred. This led to three broad groups of indicators for recovery: a person's actions, their appearance and their thoughts and feelings.Conclusions Australian primary care patients with depressive symptoms report using observation and human interaction when trying to decide if someone is getting better from depression, leading to a broad range of indicators of recovery that include, but are not limited to, the traditional symptom-based definitions of depression remission. This data suggests that patients have a rich variety of ways of describing recovery, supporting a call for more patient-centred approaches to setting goals for depression recovery in the primary care setting.

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