Screening for post‐stroke depression: who, when and how?

Katherine Sewell, Tamara Tse, Geoffrey A Donnan and Leeanne M Carey
Med J Aust 2021; 215 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51256
Published online: 4 October 2021

What Australia can learn from overseas guidelines

Depression is a common sequela of stroke, with about 30% of stroke survivors developing depression.1 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM‐5) recognises post‐stroke depression within the category “Depressive disorder due to another medical condition”.2 Post‐stroke depression significantly hinders patients’ ability to participate in rehabilitation and is associated with poor health outcomes. Despite its high prevalence and negative impact, post‐stroke depression is vastly underdiagnosed.3 One estimate suggested that only 5% of stroke survivors are diagnosed with and treated for depression in routine clinical practice.4 Diagnosis of depression can be challenging in stroke survivors, especially in those who have residual communication and cognitive impairments.

  • Katherine Sewell1,2
  • Tamara Tse1,3
  • Geoffrey A Donnan4
  • Leeanne M Carey1,2

  • 1 La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Melbourne Brain Centre at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC


Katherine Sewell is the recipient of a La Trobe University postgraduate scholarship for undertaking a PhD, which supported her during the writing of this article.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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