New publications for military communities to learn more about depression are now available to download on the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) website.
“We created these materials to help patients and family members better understand and manage depression, a very common health concern,” said Cmdr. Angela Williams, chief of evidence-based practice at DHCC.
They include a brochure, “Depression: Fast Facts for Families” and a booklet, “Understanding Depression: A Resource for Providers and Patients,” which DHCC created through a collaborative effort with the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We wanted to raise awareness that depression is a common mental health condition and that according to studies, service members returning from combat deployments are at increased risk for developing (depression),” said Laura Faulconer, a social work subject matter expert for DHCC.
The brochure and booklet, which were released as part of a suite of clinical support tools for major depressive disorder, aim to inform patients and health care providers about treatment options and where to find help. Using the self-management strategies in the booklet can help patients manage their symptoms.
“Clear information not only educates patients about depression, but it also better prepares them to speak with a health care provider and family members and friends about what they are experiencing,” Faulconer said.
Patients and their families often have misconceptions about depression. The new publications take those myths out of the equation. For example, not every person affected with depression will have the same symptoms, Faulconer stressed. She reiterated what many experts say: there is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment.
“Depression is a real medical condition and not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw,” Faulconer said. “You can’t ‘snap out of’ clinical depression or just think happier thoughts to make it go away. Most people who experience major depressive disorder need treatment to get better.”
Providers: Clinical Practice Tools are Available
The tools for major depressive disorder are the latest of a number of clinical support tools created by DHCC, the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs to accompany the clinical practice guidelines for psychological health conditions. Providers at Army, Air Force and Navy medical treatment facilities can order hard copies of the tools on the Army Medical Department shopping cart site.
These tools are designed specifically for clinicians to provide information and assist in decision making.