Online mind MAP helps define mood disorders

When Sarah (not her real name), seriously depressed and suicidal, point-blank refused to take any medication because she so despised the side-effects, her GP, Dr Jan Orman, was concerned.

Dr Orman, who specialises in mental health and works as the GP services consultant for the Black Dog Institute (BDI), referred Sarah to BDI’s online Mood Assessment Program (MAP) – a free diagnostic tool designed to complement clinical assessment of mood disorders.

Patients log on to a secure website and complete an hour-long survey that provides information about depression subtype, probability of bipolar disorder, personality vulnerability, personal and family history and lifestyle factors.

The results are reported directly back to the referring practitioner and can then be used to inform treatment decisions.

In the aforementioned case, Dr Orman learned that Sarah had a pretty clear-cut case of non-melancholic depression, which can be