The mission of the Initiative on Depression and Primary Care is to enhance a primary care physicians' ability to recognize and treat depression.

The World Health Organization has estimated that depression was the fourth highest cause of disability and premature death world-wide in 1990 and will be the second highest cause by 2020. In this country most people with symptoms of depression turn to their primary care physicians for help rather than seeking mental health services directly.

Over the past two decades medical science has made great strides in its understanding of depression. New drugs and therapies are more effective in treating depression, yet the stigma of mental illness continues to influence physician and patient attitudes toward this illness and ultimately the quality of care people receive.

The MacArthur Initiative on Depression and Primary Care (MIDPC) bases its work on the belief that primary care physicians must be well qualified and confident in their ability to care for depressed patients. The Initiative's mission is to improve care and outcomes nation wide for patients with depressive disorders treated in primary care practices. To accomplish this mission the Initiative seeks to attain the following goals.

The goals that serve the Initiative's mission are:

  • To better understand how primary care physicians (PCPs) approach depression
  • To develop educational programs and tools for primary care physicians that result in improved care
  • To model practice systems that facilitate recognition and care of depression
  • To rigorously evaluate the efficacy of these programs, tools and models
  • To disseminate these materials to PCPs in collaboration with specialty societies, managed care organizations and medical school

The purpose of this website is to provide PCPs with knowledge and tools that facilitate better care for depression.