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The first consultation for low mood in general practice: what do patients find helpful?

Morgan, Ian, Dowrick, Chris, Macdonald, Sara, Wilkes, Scott and Watson, Stuart (2023) The first consultation for low mood in general practice: what do patients find helpful? Family practice. p. 211. ISSN 0263-2136

Item Type: Article



Recent evidence suggests that the first consultation with a general practitioner (GP) for symptoms of depression may be more than just a vehicle for assessment and management planning (as current guidelines imply).


To identify what patients find helpful, or otherwise, in their first consultation for low mood with a GP.


A cross-sectional questionnaire and interview study of patients with low mood who had recently consulted their GP, in the North of England. Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the consultation, and a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), within 2 weeks. They were also invited to take part in a face-face interview with a researcher. Both sources of data were subjected to qualitative thematic analysis.


Thirty-seven questionnaires were returned; 5 interviews took place. The majority of participants felt better after consulting a GP for the first time for low mood. The factors most commonly cited as helpful were "being listened to" and "understanding or empathy from the GP." Others included "admitting the problem," "being reassured of normality," and "being provided with optimism or hope for change." The most commonly reported difficulty was the patients' struggle to express themselves. Patients often felt that GP follow-up was inadequate.


These results suggest that the therapeutic benefit of the GP consultation is under-recognized in current guidelines. The results of our study will provide crucial information as to how such consultations can be tailored to improve patient satisfaction.

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Depositing User: Scott Wilkes


Item ID: 17532
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ISSN: 0263-2136
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ORCID for Scott Wilkes: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2024 10:09
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 10:15


Author: Scott Wilkes ORCID iD
Author: Ian Morgan
Author: Chris Dowrick
Author: Sara Macdonald
Author: Stuart Watson

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Medicine


Sciences > Health Sciences

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