Prasuna Reddy: Diabetes and depression: a difficult furrow to plough

Keynote presenter: Prasuna Reddy

Organisation: Flinders and Deakin Universities


Diabetes and depression is a devastating combination – for the patient, a difficult furrow to plough – which is why the TrueBlue project is so important. In Australia, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has more than doubled since 1981, being almost 1.5 million now. At least half of those who have diabetes are unaware of their condition. By 2023 diabetes will be the leading contributor to the Australian burden of disease, with major morbidity from its complications. The prevalence of depression in diabetes has been shown to be at least double that of patients without diabetes. Despite the evidence, depression among diabetes patients is under-recognised, under-diagnosed, and under-treated.

The TrueBlue project – which was piloted in Hamilton, Horsham, and Mount Gambier – demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of training practice nurses to identify and manage depression among patients with diabetes and heart disease. As a result of this successful pilot study a full scale clinical trial, funded by beyondblue, was set up to measure the effectiveness of this model in practices in New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. The trial will not be completed until 2011, but early and encouraging results are available for this conference.