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David Baxter

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On Track? is a treatment program for people with a history of depression. Through research fundng, the program is offered by the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland to individuals during a period when they are not currently depressed. By helping individuals to understand the triggers for depression and to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, the program supports participants in keeping their lives ?on track.?

On Track? is suitable for people who:

? are aged 18 years or above
? have experienced more than two episodes of depression in the past
? have no history of psychotic disorder
? are not dependent on alcohol or other drugs
? are not currently in treatment for depression (other than medication)
? are able to read and write in English

On Track? is a correspondence-based program. This means that participants receive a series of letters over the 12 months of the program, and that there are no meetings or face-to-face contact. Some of the letters will include surveys that will ask for information about how participants are progressing in the program. Other letters will include ideas on what to do to stay well such as information about becoming more active, about eating well, and about identifying thought patterns. Each letter will include personal feedback for participants about their progress.

"The great thing about this program is that it uses a series of letters,? said program supervisor Professor David Kavanagh. ?This means that people can get some help no matter where they live.?​

All participants in the On Track? program will need to maintain regular contact with their GP. Before commencing the program, participants will need to sign a Participant Consent form. With the participant's consent, the research team will contact their GP and request the completion of a GP Consent form and Patient Information form. Throughout the program the participant?s GP will function as a face-to-face contact person if the participant needs to talk to someone in person about how they are feeling. Participants also have access to a toll free number if they wish to call the research team to discuss their progress in the program.

The On Track? program is provided to clients free of charge. There is no charge for the program materials and we will pay for all postage costs involved in returning worksheets to us. The only costs you will incur are any fees that your GP may charge above the Medicare rebate. You will need to discuss the frequency of your health checks whilst you are participating in the program with your GP.

In summary, participation in the On Track? program involves:

? participation in a brief screening interview to assess program suitability
? completion of written and/or telephone assessments at the commencement of the program and at 6 and 12 months
? reading treatment newsletters and completing the activities
? returning worksheets regularly to the research team
? implementing the strategies discussed in the newsletters in your daily life
? maintaining contact with your GP throughout the program to discuss how you are feeling and your physical health

On Track? has been developed by clinician researchers from the Universities of Queensland, Wollongong and Canberra. The program works with General Practitioners to assist clients to detect early signs and triggers for depressive episodes so they can obtain help quickly and avert mental health crises.

On Track? helps clients to put their lives back ?on track? by working towards recovery through the development of adaptive goals and life satisfaction. On Track? encourages clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and by dealing with any substance abuse.

On Track? is delivered via correspondence through a series of letters over a 12 month period. Because there are no meetings or face-to-face consultations, On Track? is suitable for people in all areas including rural and remote. This type of correspondence-based program has been successfully utilized in the past to provide support and assistance for people with a range of health concerns. The School of Medicine at the University of Queensland is currently running correspondence treatment programs for managing depression (On Track?), alcohol issues (DrinkRight?), and benzodiazepines dependence (Try Another Way?).

"We are particularly keen to tell people in rural and regional areas about the On Track? program. We know that it is often hard for them to get enough help for depression. Besides, it may feel odd to go for help if they are not actually depressed right now. But it is really important that they do something about it, before the depression comes back. We encourage them to work on the On Track? program with a GP or counsellor," said program supervisor Professor David Kavanagh.

Are you Interested in Participating?
Don't forget to take a look at our new look website at: www.uq.edu.au/ontrack.

For further information contact:

Ms Anna Salzgeber
Ph: 1300 300 164
Email: ontrack@uq.edu.au
 

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