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Guideline

Common mental health disorders: Identification and pathways to care

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Last updated:25th May 2011

This guideline covers care for people aged 18 and over with common mental health problems, with a focus on primary care. It aims to improve access to services for adults and how mental health problems are identified and assessed, and makes recommendations on local care pathways.

Common mental health disorders, such as depression, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder[1], may affect up to 15% of the population at any one time. Depression and anxiety disorders can have a lifelong course of relapse and remission. There is considerable variation in the severity of common mental health disorders, but all can be associated with significant long-term disability. For example, depression is estimated to be the second greatest contributor to disabilityadjusted life years throughout the developed world. It is also associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality, and is the most common disorder contributing to suicide.

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