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New International Guidelines on Mental Health in CF

Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Virtual Education Program for Patients and Caregivers

Depression and Anxiety in CF  with Dr. Alexandra Quittner

On May 5, 2015, Cystic Fibrosis Canada hosted its second educational webinar in our Virtual Education Program for Patients and Caregivers. Dr. Alexandra Quittner provided an overview of mental health in CF and the recently developed guidelines for screening for mental health issues in North America and Europe. Dr. Quittner earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and is currently Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Miami.

In her presentation, Dr. Quittner focused on the results of The International Depression/Anxiety Epidemiological Study (TIDES) and the new international guidelines on mental health in CF that were developed as a result. The 9-year study included sites in the U.S. and 8 European countries and, with 6,088 CF patients and 4,102 parents screened, was the largest study of its kind conducted for a chronic illness. The aim was to determine the extent to which CF patients and parent caregivers experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. The team discovered that both patients and parents experienced higher levels of depression and anxiety than the general population, and when a parent was depressed or anxious, their teen was also more likely to be depressed or anxious.

Based on this data, a large, international committee co-chaired by Dr. Quittner, has developed international guidelines on mental health in CF. Among their recommendations, the committee suggests annual screening and ongoing education for all CF patients beginning at age 12 and also recommends offering screening to parents of children with CF from the time of the child’s birth to 17 years of age.

To learn more, please watch Dr. Quittner’s full presentation here.