Out of the shadows: attitudes and beliefs of primary care practitioners about depression after myocardial infarction
After myocardial infarction (MI) half of all patients will experience an episode of depression. We carried out the first survey of GP and primary care nurse attitudes and beliefs about depression in post-MI patients. Our sample was drawn from readers of two major cardiovascular journals: a total of 813 GPs and nurses responded. Primary care practitioners underestimated the prevalence of depression which is two and a half times more common in post-MI patients than estimated. Diagnosing depression was viewed as complex by both groups but much more so by nurses. Compared to nurses GPs had a much better understanding of the signs and symptoms of depression and were more confident in using depression screening tools. General acknowledgement of the negative impact that depression can have on outcomes was reported by the majority of participants. The practice of depression-trained professionals was more positive compared with those who had no recent education. If primary care practitioners address the epidemic of depression in post-MI patients, outcomes will be dramatically improved and lives could be saved.