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Depression: Implications for State and Local Healthcare Programs

Workshop Brief for Senior State and Local Health Officials

This workshop was designed for State and local health officials from the executive and legislative branches who have responsibility for designing, implementing, and managing programs and policies that influence the delivery of health services, particularly those services related to depression. The workshop was held in Washington, DC, July 10-12, 2000.

About the Workshop Sponsor.


Depression is one of the most prevalent and debilitating mental health conditions in the United States, affecting 17.6 million Americans each year. The personal and financial impact of this illness is significant, as it compromises individuals' functioning and quality of life and costs more than $36 billion annually.

In recent years, progress has been made in improving the understanding of ways in which earlier diagnosis and effective treatment of depression can be achieved. Researchers have identified promising quality improvement strategies to strengthen the ability of primary care providers to diagnose and treat depression in their patients. In addition, the implications of alternative managed care arrangements on the provision of needed care are also being examined.

At the completion of this workshop, participants were expected to be better able to:

  • Understand the impact of depression and how it is addressed within the current healthcare system.
  • Put into operation an evidence-based framework to consider healthcare system strategies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
  • Assess the latest health services research findings to identify promising approaches to meet the needs of patients with depression.
  • Analyze promising strategies and initiatives implemented by public and private organizations to better serve people suffering from depression.


Workshop participants included State legislators and their staff, State Medicaid officials, State and local health officials, and representatives from State employee health benefit programs.

AHRQ's User Liaison Program (ULP) disseminates health services research findings in easily understandable and usable formats through interactive workshops. Workshops and other support are planned to meet the needs of Federal, State, and local policymakers, and other health services research users, such as purchasers, administrators, and health plans.

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