|Objective: Depressive disorder is one of the most common and influential psychiatric illnesses and is listed, therefore, as one of the three major human diseases of the 21st century by the World health Organization. In the statistical evidence of the 10 major causes of death in Taiwan in 2002, death by suicide is listed as the ninth leading cause. Since depression correlates with suicide, depressive disorder has become one of the major public health issues in Taiwan. However, most of people lack a correct understanding of depressive disorder and depressive patients suffer under the stigma of psychiatric illness and hesitate to seek medical help. Accordingly, depressive patients don't acquire appropriate treatment, causing a waste of medical resources and increasing the burden of the family and society. In this study, a short-term group therapy for depressive patients seas designed, consisting of health education, muscle relaxation training, emotional sharing and peer support, aimed at improving their behavior in correctly seeking medical help and raising the recovery rate of patients with depressive disorder.
Method: In all, 12 depressive patients completed the 6-weel health education and peer group course. Every individual patient was interviewed and evaluated by the same doctor using the HDRS, CHQ-12 and the Depression Common Sense Test (DESS) before and after the course.
Result: The score of the scales before and after the course were: HDRS: 10.33±6.18 (before), 8.00±3.93 (after), p=0.03(superscript *); CHQ-12: 3.83±3.01 (before), 2.67±2.77 (after), p=0.177; DCST: 80.83±5.57 (before), 86.25±8.56 (after), p=0.028(superscript *). Significant differences were found in the HDRS and DCSI scores.
Conclusion: The short-term health education and peer group course enhanced the appropriate behaviors in seeking medical help by improving the patients' cognition of the depressive disorder thus augmenting the efficacy of the antidepressant drugs and compensating for the insufficiency of out-patient department education.