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The most common mental health problem is a serious, under-detected condition in which severe feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in life interfere with daily life and can last for weeks or months. Affects up to 1 in 3 at least once, and occurs in all age groups, including children and adolescents. Long-term medical conditions increase risk of major depression. A family history of depression also increases risk.
NICE CG90. Depression in adults: recognition and management; 2009 (Updated 2018. Updated guideline expected May 2022) https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/cg90
NICE CG91. Depression in adults with a chronic physical health problem: recognition and management; 2009 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG91
NICE QS8. Depression in children and young people; 2013 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs48
Clinical features of depression
Screening for depression
In primary care settings, NICE guidance advises:
1. During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless? and
2. During the past month, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?
A ‘no’ response to both questions makes depression highly unlikely. A ‘yes’ answer to either question is considered a positive test, and the person should be reviewed by a practitioner competent in mental health assessment. Mixed anxiety/depression is common. See also Anxiety
Depression Alliance https://www.depressionalliance.org
Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org 116 123 email: email@example.com
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Depression that occurs during pregnancy or within a year of delivery. Postnatal depression affects c. 1 in 10 mothers and untreated can last weeks or months. Lack of support (emotional or practical), socioeconomic difficulties and a history of mental illness can increase risk.
Royal College of Psychiatrists Postnatal depression; 2015 https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/post-natal-depression
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Postnatal depression - the need for vigilance Pat MacDonald