Depression research


The MIRROR pilot study
Treatment and prevention of depression among older Western Australians living in Regional and Remote areas using Behavioural Activation

This study will test whether a supported self-help behavioural activation program designed for older Western Australians living in regional and remote areas is effective at:

1. Decreasing the severity of depression amongst those who are depressed

2. Preventing the onset of depression among those with some depressive symptoms.  

We require the assistance of men and women who are:

  • Aged 65 years and over
  • Living in regional and remote Western Australia
  • Experiencing symptoms of depression or low mood
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • Not planning to move residence in the next 12 months.
  •  and who are available to be contacted by phone within business hours between Monday – Friday.

If you are interested in particpating in this pilot study contact our researchers on 9224 2750 or email us for further information.

Randomised trial of homocysteine lowering treatment of depression in later life (B-VITAge)

The causes of depression in later life are varied and complex, but available evidence suggests that cardiovascular disease plays an important role. High homocysteine (a robust risk factor for myocardial infarction and strokes) accounts for about 20% of all cases of depression in older age. We have previously shown that treatment with vitamins B12, B6 and folate reduces homocysteine. We propose to run a trial to test if lowering homocysteine decreases the severity and prevalence of depression.  We showed that people treated with vitamins B6, B9 and B12 and an antidepressant had lower relapse rates over one year than those treated with placebo the antidepressant. These results indicate that these vitamins hold potential to decrease the prevalence of depression in our elderly community.

KICA-Depression scale


A culturally acceptable depression screening tool is now available for remote living Older Indigenous Australians.  Our researchers have adapted a commonly used screening tool Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), by re-wording and translating some of the questions to align with Indigenous cultural norms. It has been specifically validated for older Indigenous people (over 45 years), who live remotely. Our results have shown that the tool known as ,KICA-Dep, has robust psychometric properties and that the use of the cut-point 7/8 is excellent at discriminating people without depression from those who require further assessment.  This tool will be very useful to medical professionals and others who work with remote Aboriginal Australians.

Click here to download the KICA-Dep screening tool.

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