Depression Pathway – What you need to know?

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is working in partnership with Stort Valley and Villages PCN to lead the implementation of the Integrated Evidence Based Depression Pathway in Hertfordshire. Coproduced with our integrated system partners and people with lived experience, the Depression Pathway is the first evidence-based system wide pathway to be implemented across all health, social care, and voluntary organisations in the UK. Based on NICE guidelines published in 2022, the pathway offers a standardised approach to identification, treatment, and prevention of depression relevant to health, social care, and voluntary sector partners

In practice the depression pathway will ensure the following:

  1. Earlier recognition ensuring service users & carers get support when they need it.

  2. Standardised assessment of depression severity using a validated tool (PHQ9). Measurement of depression severity is not new and the PHQ9 tool is well-known across secondary and primary care. The benefit: service users with depression receive interventions that match their level of severity of depression. This Matched Care Model forms the basis of the NICE guidance and the Depression Pathway.

  3. Monitoring of individuals should also include a repeat of the standardised assessment. Why? To ensure that the intervention is working and benefiting the individual. Where it is not having a positive impact or does not suit the individual this allows for discussion and selection of another recommended intervention.

  4. Encouraging the use of ‘10 Keys to Happier Living’*, evidence-based self-help material, and social prescribing to the voluntary sector and other local community assets in maintaining wellbeing and prevention of depression.

What this means for service users:

·       Earlier recognition and earlier support.

·       Increased clarity of expectation of the care they will be offered.

·       Seamless integrated care that follows the individual across organisational boundaries wherever they live.

·       Evidence-based intervention matched to the severity of depression using a shared decision framework.

·       Regular follow-up for service users/carers to objectively assess the severity of depression and treatment response

·       Evidence-based interventions to prevent depression including linking of individuals to local community services that are approachable and suitable to individual needs.

The Depression Pathway puts the NICE and other evidence-based interventions in one place for colleagues across the locality. Pathways mean that care can be organised, monitored, and gaps identified quickly. Gaps will be used to inform future commissioning.

We know that the concept of place-based care has gathered more support in recent years. It builds on good current practice. Boundaries across the system are blurred in an effort to provide an integrated care system for individuals, families, and communities. The result is: the right care is provided at the right time in the right place.

If there are any questions regarding this initiative, please contact Angel Munge on

Depression Pathway Launch 2023


GP Depression Leaflet
October 2023
SU Depression Leaflet
DIALOG Leaflet
PHQ9 Form
October 2023