Screening for depression in young Indigenous people: building on a unique community initiative

Harriss, Linton R., Kyle, Mary, Connolly, Katrina, Murgha, Edward, Bulmer, Merton, Miller, Darren, Munn, Paul, Neal, Paul, Pearson, Kingsley, Walsh, Melanie, Campbell, Sandra, Berger, Maximus, McDermott, Robyn, and McDonald, Malcolm (2018) Screening for depression in young Indigenous people: building on a unique community initiative. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 24 (4). pp. 343-349.

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Abstract

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (GYHSAC) is an Indigenous community-controlled health organisation providing comprehensive primary care to the people of Yarrabah in far north Queensland, Australia. GYHSAC conducts an annual Young Person's Health Check (YPC) for people aged 15-25 years based on the Medical Benefits Schedule Item 715. However, the YPC is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community, and in 2016, in response to concerns about psychological risk among Indigenous youth, GYHSAC teamed up with James Cook University to trial an adapted PHQ-9 depression screening tool (aPHQ-9) as part of the YPC. This study describes the 2016 YPC event, reports the prevalence of depressive symptoms, examines local issues related to the use of the screening tool and proposes recommendations for future health screening. Experienced health professionals conducted the aPHQ-9 assessment in a private area of the clinic. One-in-five young people were found to have moderate-severe symptoms or self-harm ideation in the previous 2 weeks; they were referred to the mental health service. The aPHQ-9 screening process was found to be straightforward and well accepted by staff and youth. Importantly, it provided valuable 'space' to facilitate communication on sensitive issues and was a conduit for speedy referral and follow up by trained staff. Based on our experience, we recommend dedicated depression screening in future routine community health checks for young people and adults.

Item ID: 55572
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-7399
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, health screening, primary health care, recommendations
Copyright Information: Copyright © La Trobe University 2018
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2018 09:15
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 34%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes @ 33%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) @ 33%
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