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Mental Health Practice - Depression in Older Adults Teaching Module

This 2-to-3 hour teaching module, developed for a course on evidence-based practice in mental health, assumes a basic knowledge of diagnosis and practice treatment theories for substance abuse. It focuses on issues related to older adults and depression and includes: a PowerPoint with lecture notes, references for required reading, and a case study with discussion questions. It also suggests a video–“Survival and Beyond" (available through Terra Nova Films)–with additional discussion questions using specific theories. The module offers an overview of: depression in older adults, prevalence and risk factors, symptoms, disability and depression, and assessment and screening tools for late-life depression such as the PHQ-9, Geriatric Depression Scale, CES-D Scale, BDI, and HAM-D. It also includes information related to: depression criteria, depressive symptoms versus clinical depression, components of suicidality, managing suicidal behavior, medical conditions and depressive symptoms associated with depression, referral guidelines, interventions for suicidal management, antidepressant medications, and evidence-based practice (EBP) interventions for psychosocial treatments.

Competencies Addressed in This Module:

  1. Ability to assess cognitive functioning and mental health needs of older adults; e.g., depression, dementia.
  2. Awareness of standardized assessment and diagnostic tools that are appropriate for use with older adults; e.g., depression scale, Mini-Mental Status Exam.
  3. Ability to relate social work perspectives and related theories to practice with older adults.