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If a disaster-impacted individual is reporting lowered or depressed mood likely as a result of a drop in physical and social activity.

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If a disaster impacted individual is not ready to try more advanced or demanding psychological interventions in order to improve mood.

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If an individual’s score on the depression subscale of the DASS-21 is 5 or above (using the 0-1-2-3 rating for questions).

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When clinical depression is suspected, referral to a general practitioner or specialist mental health practitioner is recommended. Suicide risk assessments should also be considered.

Quick tips

Provide psychoeducation about the nature of depression, and the relationship between activity and mood.

Increasing pleasant events: encourage the individual to monitor mood and engage in a predefined number of pleasant activities each day. Aim to achieve a balance between activities that have the potential to result in a sense of mastery or achievement and those that have the potential to be enjoyable. Gradually aim to increase the number of activities engaged in.

Do you know how to

  • Administer and score the DASS screening tool?
  • Assess an individual’s involvement in activities?
  • Provide psychoeducation about the relationship between experiencing disasters, lowered mood and reduced engagement in activities?
  • Explain why increasing activity can have a positive impact on mood?
  • Support individuals with low mood and depression to increase participation in activities?

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