Stepped care model and depression in primary care
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Stepped care model and depression in primary care

Stacey McIntosh Primary Care Mental Health Team Lead for Stirling and Clackmannan, Bannockburn Health Centre, NHS Forth Valley, Bannockburn, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn about the stepped care model of treatment

  • To understand the evidence base for the stepped care model

  • To develop ideas for how you could implement stepped care in your practice

This article describes and considers the stepped care model of interventions and its use in primary care in treating depression as a long-term condition. Evidence suggests stepped care can be beneficial if appropriate support is available to services, and the article explores how the model can be used to achieve the best outcomes for patients. It examines potential barriers to providing stepped care in practice and how these barriers can be overcome to develop services, particularly those involving mental health in primary care. It also proposes that stepped care, when embedded in a primary care multidisciplinary team, can improve patient outcomes and sustainably and cost-effectively manage limited mental health resources.

Primary Health Care. 31, 2, 30-34. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1685

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

McIntosh S (2020) Stepped care model and depression in primary care. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1685

Published online: 09 December 2020

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