Frequently Asked Questions

19. How is treatment for depression being improved?

Several studies are looking at ways to help older adults get better access to depression treatment. One is developing and testing an education and intervention program to help primary care clinics and providers identify and treat late-life depression. Another study found that depressed older adults who had a "care manager" monitor their symptoms, side effects, and progress got better more quickly -- and stayed better longer -- than those who did not have case-managed care. Still other projects are investigating ways of improving older adults’ engagement in and ability to follow treatment plans for depression.

Researchers are also looking at ways to

  • better understand the relationship between other medical illnesses and depression
  • integrate treatment for depression with treatments for other medical conditions a person may have
  • produce a quicker response to treatment
  • develop new methods for delivering treatment to those who are homebound, unable to move around without assistance, or who live in rural areas. (e.g., via use of telephonic or internet-assisted therapies)
  • help prevent depression by keeping it from developing or recurring in those at risk or by preventing those with milder symptoms from progressing to more severe episodes of depression.