Increasingly the burden of management of patients with mood and personality disorders has fallen onto general practitioners. Even in large cities there are not enough psychiatrists to adequately care for the number of mentally ill in the community. Nor is it necessarily appropriate for all the depressed and anxious people in the population to be seeing a specialist.
General practitioners as a group, rural GPs in particular, express significant uncertainty around the management of mental health problems, especially the complex ones. Psychiatric second opinions are not always easily available
The Black Dog Institute’s online Mood Assessment Program (MAP) provides GPs and psychologists with a way of accessing a second opinion quickly and easily. It can assist in treatment planning for patients with mood disorders and help tease out the contribution of personality style to their illness. The online MAP is a suite of well validated psychological instruments which, in conjunction with their own clinical assessment, provides the practitioner with guidance based on the Black Dog Subtyping Model of Depression. MAP diagnoses, once confirmed clinically, have clear treatment implications.
A MAP report provides an indication of the subtype of depression the patient is suffering from, the likelihood of bipolar disorder, the presence of anxiety disorders and the presence of both personality vulnerability and dysfunctionality.
The online MAP is easy for patients to access by logging on to a secure website with an access code provided by a registered referrer. Reports, though not available immediately, reach most referrers well within a week. Patients find the online MAP easy to complete, usually in less than an hour. Practitioners find the reports helpful either in reinforcing and supporting their own diagnosis or in clarifying muddy diagnostic waters.
The Black Dog Institute provides the online MAP free of charge Australia-wide as a community service.
Dr Jan Orman, GP Sevices Consultant, Black Dog Institute