Improving detection and treatment of depression in people with multiple sclerosis through neurology healthcare services.

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Depression in multiple sclerosis (MS) is 2-3 times higher than in the general population, with ~50% lifetime prevalence following diagnosis. It is more enduring than for people without MS, and not likely to remit without effective treatment. Despite consensus guidelines recommending screening for depression at each MS neurology review, and evidence for treatment efficacy, between 11.9-35.8% of depressive symptoms are undetected and 21.0-65.0% are under-treated.1-6 My research aims to improve depressive symptom screening, monitoring and treatment practices in MS; 1) validating the 2 Question Screen (2QS) in an Australian sample of people with MS within a clinical setting; 2) characterising the depressive symptom profile in MS to identify patient/clinician education needs about how depression in MS might present; 3) validating qualitative research identifying the barriers and required supports.

Using this research, literature review and stakeholder expertise, I will lead the development of recommendations and supports to improve detection, treatment and monitoring of depression in MS. Critical to translation, I will seek funding to implement and assess recommendations for feasibility and acceptability (years 4-5) across settings of: i. private neurology practice, ii. a hospital neurology clinic and, iii. A hospital MS specialist clinic, to iteratively assess and modify in preparation for broader rollout.

This research has potential to positively impact for people with MS, for whom depression is a key disease symptom, with a substantial personal and family burden. It will improve healthcare services, provide supportive resources for clinicians and economic gains by reducing direct and indirect costs associated with MS.
Short titleImproving detection and treatment of depression in MS
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/23