Whilst working and studying concurrently, improving mental health has been the focus of Amy’s career for the past 9 years. This has allowed her to continue developing and refining her research skills and has solidified her belief that marrying the theoretical underpinning and practical skills of research is key to being a successful researcher.
Amy has expertise in research communication and design of study materials that meet the needs of both the consumer and research communities. She currently sits on the ethics committee at the Department of General Practice.
Australia has one of the highest antidepressant (AD) prescribing rates in the world with the majority being prescribed in primary care (PC). It has been shown that this is mainly due to people taking ADs beyond the recommended treatment period and with no clinical reason to keep doing so. Currently no guidelines exist to help patients, in collaboration with the general practitioner (GP), to safely stop taking ADs unnecessarily. Recently, a team at the University of Melbourne have designed the STOPS electronic health (eHealth) intervention to enable PC patients to safely stop taking ADs while maintaining staying mentally well.
eHealth platforms offer new opportunities to engage GPs and patients in their own care and deliver new and timely tools for increased health and well-being. To ensure successful uptake and maximise engagement in the STOPS tool it is important to involve potential users in the development of the tool. The aim of this world first study is to employ user-centred design to inform and optimise the design of an eHealth intervention for PC patients and GPs to guide antidepressants deprescribing in patients who are taking them inappropriately.
Ultimately, the eHealth tool will provide the support that both GPs and patients need to reduce inappropriate AD use.
Supervisors: Professor Jane Gunn, Dr Susie Fletcher & Professor Elizabeth Murray