The self-management of longer-term depression: learning from the patient, a qualitative study

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Chambers, Eleni ; Cook, Sarah ; Thake, Anna ; Foster, Alexis ; Shaw, Sue ; Hutten, Rebecca ; Parry, Glenys ; Ricketts, Tom (2015)
  • Publisher: Springer Nature
  • Journal: BMC Psychiatry, volume 15 (eissn: 1471-244X)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4513949, doi: 10.1186/s12888-015-0550-6
  • Subject: Research Article | Depression | Patients’ perspective | Qualitative research | Recovery | Self-help | Self-management | Psychiatry and Mental health

Background Depression is a common mental health condition now viewed as chronic or long-term. More than 50 % of people will have at least one further episode of depression after their first, and therefore it requires long-term management. However, little is known about the effectiveness of self-management in depression, in particular from the patients’ perspective. This study aimed to understand how people with longer-term depression manage the condition, how services can best support self-management and whether the principles and concepts of the recovery approach would be advantageous. Methods Semi-structured in depth interviews were carried out with 21 participants, recruited from a range of sources using maximum variation sampling. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used by a diverse team comprised of service users, practitioners and academics. Results Four super-ordinate themes were found: experience of depression, the self, the wider environment, self-management strategies. Within these, several prominent sub-themes emerged of importance to the participants. These included how aspects of themselves such as hope, confidence and motivation could be powerful agents; and how engaging in a wide range of chosen activities could contribute to their emotional, mental, physical, social, spiritual and creative wellbeing. Conclusions Services in general were not perceived to be useful in specifically facilitating self-management. Increased choice and control were needed and a greater emphasis on an individualised holistic model. Improved information was needed about how to develop strategies and locate resources, especially during the first episode of depression. These concepts echoed those of the recovery approach, which could therefore be seen as valuable in aiding the self-management of depression. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0550-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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