Pilot Research Into Non-Specific Psychological Distress And Mental Disorders Among Callers To “Lifeline” Sydney

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Authors: Rob Naylor, Gavin Andrews, Tim Slade, Amy Kercher, NSW

Year: 2003

Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Distress, Triage & Service Delivery

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 1876939184

Abstract: A pilot study was conducted on 210 callers to “Lifeline” Sydney to measure the level of non-specific psychological distress among callers who were not suicidal or critically distressed. This was approximately a 10% sample of calls over a two-month period in late 2002. The measurement instrument used was the Kessler 6 point questionnaire of non-specific psychological distress (the K6), indicative of the likelihood of suffering from an anxiety or affective disorder (Andrews & Slade, 2001; Kessler et. al, 2002), the most common forms of mental disorder according to the DSM-IV-TR (APA, 2000). An additional two questions were administered, one relating to the individual’s functional impairment (the number of days where they were unable to function to full capacity), and the other relating to service utilisation (the number of consultations with health professionals over the previous month). These questions were based on those administered in the “Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being” in 1997 (NSMHWB, 1997). The results of the pilot study confirm the proposition that callers to “Lifeline” Sydney are highly distressed and thus more likely to suffer from anxiety and affective disorders than would be expected of the normal population based on previous estimates.

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