English Summary



In early December, the POKAL concept paper was published in BMC Primary Care: 

“Predictors and outcomes in primary depression care (POKAL) – a research training group develops an innovative approach to collaborative care”


With an ageing society and an increase in multimorbidity, mental illness and its complexity are on the rise. Depression is among the most common diagnoses especially in the Primary Care setting where most of its treatment takes place. General practitioners (GPs) therefore play an important role in the care of patients with depression. Nevertheless are GPs faced with special challenges in its detection and treatment. Somatic symptoms often co-occur with depression and may hinder specific diagnosis and treatment putting both the success of the therapy and treatment safety in jeopardy. Even though evidence based guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of depression have been around for a long period of time they do not seem to be implemented thoroughly yet.

The goal of our project is to support GPs in coping with these challenges and to improve the care of patients with depression in the Primary Care setting. Divided into three main projects, i.e. diagnosis, treatment and implementation, new instruments adapted to the Primary Care context are systematically developed according to the principle of the Chronic Care Model (CCM):


    • Diagnosis: New algorithms will be developed to support diagnostics considering patient-  and GP-related factors will be considered in addition to established parameters. Additionally, a new approach for the detection of suicidal behaviour will be piloted and optimized.
    • Treatment: Tools to help psychoeducation, monitoring, case management and medication control will be developed and evaluated.
    • Implementation: Barriers and facilitators for the implementation of guideline oriented treatment in Primary Care will be identified. According to these findings possible solutions will be developed and evaluated.

Early career scientists will be trained to further develop clinical research in Primary Care. The aim is to effectively support both health care providers and stakeholders and improve the future treatment of depression in Primary Care.

POKAL has been developed as a comprehensive qualification concept, in which graduates are able to work towards clinical as well as scientific qualification. Our senior investigators, planning and leading said research projects, are internationally renowned experts in the fields of Primary Care, Psychology, Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine, Public Health and Information Technology. The multidisciplinary and multiprofessional setting allows all its members a shift in perspective and helps to gain skills important to tackle the important task of improving quality and care and the medical system itself.

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