A leading cause of disability worldwide, depression is a common mental health disorder that affects over 300 million people globally. Depression is characterized by sadness or irritability, lack of interest, and a variety of somatic and vegetative symptoms. It alters people’s moods, thoughts, and behaviors, resulting in impairment in daily functioning. Depression often co-occurs alongside other physical and mental health concerns, and depression increases the risk of several chronic and acute physical health conditions.
Evidence suggests that depression can be prevented but that most people with symptoms of depression do not receive intervention. Integrated care within primary care settings provides opportunities to identify individuals who are at risk for developing depression through screening and to increase access to appropriate evidence-based interventions.
This book chapter presents important background information on depression and reviews associated risk factors, such as parental depression, cognitive factors, gender, and sociodemographic and environmental factors. The authors discuss effective depression screening to identify those at risk, evidence to support preventive interventions, and stepped care interventions that may be used in primary care settings. Finally, they end the chapter with five specific recommendations to assist with the management of depression within primary care.