Primary care monitoring of depressive symptoms in young people

Aust Fam Physician. 2014 Mar;43(3):147-50.


Background: Monitoring depressive symptoms and suicidality is essential in the management of depression in young people, yet routine monitoring is rare. This qualitative study sought to explore the experiences and beliefs of general practitioners about factors associated with monitoring youth depression in primary care settings.

Methods: Two focus groups with general practitioners (n = 12) were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. A semi-structured interview schedule was used.

Results: In the primary care setting, monitoring was perceived as part of a continuum of care that begins with screening and diagnosis and as beneficial mostly in regards to informing treatment planning. Benefits and risks were reported, along with challenges and facilitators.

Discussion: Monitoring youth depression in primary care settings is perceived as both beneficial and potentially risky. Monitoring tools need to inform treatment planning, be brief and fit within existing electronic software used by general practitioners.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Focus Groups
  • General Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents