The program will focus on identifying and managing depression better through primary care and will also target high risk groups. It will also involve public education and working with the media on responsible ways to report suicide. This is the first step towards a national suicide prevention program.
The uOBMRI's long-term vision is to integrate a seamless clinical care and research strategy for depression that incorporates:
- Early intervention
The first steps in this ambitious undertaking will be developed with support from our partners over an extended period of time and will include these elements.
Reduce the Local Suicide Rate by 20% by providing interventions that monitor “high risk” populations and provide effective and timely assistance. It uses electronic platforms to provide individuals and physicians with assistance when navigating the healthcare system to properly treat and prioritize depressed patients and halt progression to self-harm stages.
Our Collaborative Partnership Team has successfully:
- Set-up the first level of a Virtual Mental Health Clinic, which includes access to mental health information and resources for the public (ementalhealth.ca)
- Launched (ementalhealth.ca/primarycare) - a website that supports primary care physicians with information and provides access to an algorithm that assists in navigating mental health diagnosis and treatment options.
- Are developing a monitoring system that tracks the number of cases of suicide in Ottawa and self-harm being reported at Emergency departments.
- Are set-up to begin a randomized clinical trial assessing whether the use of smartphone assisted therapy can reduced the incidence of self-harm and suicide in “at risk” populations that have been discharged from the Emergency Departments.
Suicide prevention strategy (Vision 20x20)
Overall Project Goals:
The uOBMRI proposes forming a coalition within our framework to reduce suicide in the Ottawa region by 20% by the year 2020. This is the first step in a larger proposal to create a North American suicide prevention project. This four-level program will include:
- Training and support for family physicians in the detection and management of depression
- A public literacy program on depression
- Training of "gatekeepers" such as clergy, police and paramedics
- Improved care after hospitalization for intentional self-harm
This would be the first time that a project of this scope has ever been undertaken in North America.
Fundamental research on depression
Essential fundamental questions will be addressed concerning depression, including
(a) What are the brain circuits affected and how are they altered in depression? and
(b) How do genetic and biomarker correlates predict and govern a patient's course of disease and outcomes to treatments?
This information will be important to determine why certain patients are resistant to or responsive to select treatments.
Development of a collaborative clinical and research program for people in a non-mental health setting
The initial focus for this project will be on stroke, Parkinson's and traumatic brain injury patients and will attempt to first diagnose and deliver care for depression at its earliest presentation. Our investigators will then design clinical outcome-based research that will test how and which strategies are the most effective.