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Managing Depressed and Suicidal Geriatric Patients: A Survey of Primary Care Physicians

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Publication Date: January 1999

Publisher(s): The Gerontologist

Author(s): M.S. Kaplan; M.E. Adamek; A. Calderon


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation


Keywords: elderly suicide; mental health; physician specialty

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This study examined differences by specialty of primary care physicians in managing suicidal and depressed geriatric patients. It surveyed 300 Illinois physicians.
Significant differences were found between specialties in estimates of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders; use of assessment procedures, treatment approaches, and referrals; perceptions of obstacles to providing mental health care; and confidence in diagnosing and treating depression and suicidality.
The study found that meeting the mental health needs of the rapidly growing older population will require a greater emphasis on geriatric mental health and consistency across primary care specialties.