A new $750,000 gift to the University of Michigan Depression Center will accelerate new programs that will, among other things, offer education and guidance to primary care physicians who treat patients for depression.

With the Lilly gift, the U-M Depression Center will expand outreach activities aimed at helping primary care physicians select and carry out treatment strategies for people with depression; giving patients an automated phone-based system for reporting their day-to-day response to treatment, thereby saving time, travel and effort; and coordinating care for patients through trained specialists called Care Navigators.

"The U-M Depression Center uses a more complete approach to recognizing and treating all the symptoms of depression -- aches and pains as well as the more easily identifiable symptoms of depression such as sadness, insomnia and appetite changes -- providing the best opportunity for people to get better," says Paula Trzepacz, MD, Medical Director of Eli Lilly and Company US Neurosciences.

"Primary care and community approaches to depression are crucial to overcoming the under-diagnosis and under-treatment of all forms of depression," says John Greden, M.D., executive director of the U-M Depression Center and Rachel Upjohn Professor and chair of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School. In an effort to help mental health care providers understand and manage depression in their patients, the U-M Depression Center has developed programs that streamline treatment selection, patient tracking and management of medication side effects and interactions.

The gift will also allow Depression Center researchers to develop and share strategies for improving the rate at which depression patients adhere to their treatment regimens. "Adherence is key to the success of treatment, whether it's medication, talk therapy or a combination of both," says Greden.

In addition, the gift will help the U-M develop alliances that may eventually lead to a national network of depression centers. Says Greden, "Our vision is to emulate the wonderfully successful precedents established by the national networks of cancer centers and heart centers. This gift will allow us to accelerate the already emerging alliance of partners to promote and catalyze such a network in depression."

Click here for more information on the U-M Depression Center.