Clinical case study

Depression: tailoring initial treatment and re-examining the options

Depression treatment should be tailored to the individual patient. Meet two different patients with depression. How would you progress their initial care?

  • Cost: free

CPD depression girl


This activity has been approved for 2 points (CPD Activity) under the RACGP CPD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 192614)

This activity has been accredited for 1 hour under the educational activity category in the ACRRM PD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 19459)



Two different patients with depression. How would you progress their initial care?

Brittany is a 22-year-old university student in her last year of study who is feeling down and having trouble sleeping and concentrating. Brittany’s goal is to concentrate at uni and feel better.

Meanwhile 58-year-old Phil is feeling “flat” and “detached” 6 weeks after a myocardial infarction. He wants to get back to work.

How will you assess and manage these patients? Is the oral contraceptive pill likely to be contributing to Brittany’s depression? Will antidepressants interact with Phil’s low dose aspirin or statin treatment?

Complete this online case study and you can receive instant feedback on your answers, compare your approach to that of your peers and read expert commentary provided by leading psychiatrist Dr Caryl Barnes.


Learning outcomes

By completing this case study you will be able to:

  • develop management plans in collaboration with patients who have depression
  • suggest non-pharmacological interventions first-line for mild and moderate depression when these can be as or more effective than antidepressant medicines
  • select and trial a suitable antidepressant considering both medicine and patient characteristics, when starting pharmacological treatment
  • employ strategies to improve patient adherence to treatment
  • implement a systematic approach to starting and assessing treatment for depression, in line with current guidelines.