Who is the checklist for?

The Depression Checklist is for use by carers, in particular paid support staff. It is intended to be completed on behalf of adults who are unable to report their own feelings or symptoms because of severe communication impairment.

What does the checklist provide?

It provides carers with a means of ensuring they have noted and recorded the information that is needed by a medical practitioner to decide

  • if an adult with intellectual disability may have depression or related mental health problem, and
  • if referral to a mental health specialist or practitioner is appropriate

Who should complete the checklist?

The best person to complete the checklist is the person who has worked longest with the adult and can provide all the information required. For some people who are relatively new to a service, it may best be completed by consultation between more than one carer, including a family member.

Is the checklist a diagnostic tool?

No – The checklist provides information for use by a medical or mental health practitioner in screening for possible depression or related disorders, in adults who are unable to self-report. The checklist is not a substitute for a clinical assessment. Health professionals are responsible for conducting individual clinical assessments. The information obtained by completion of this checklist by a carer who knows an individual well may assist the health professional in this clinical assessment.

How should the checklist be used?

The checklist should be completed by a carer prior to attending a medical consultation with a General Practitioner (GP). Hence, it should be given to the GP with other information about the history of the adult and further information of relevance to his/her health care.

It can also be taken to a consultation with a mental health professional. It is recommended that the checklist be dated and kept in the adult’s home medical file, as this will provide a record of changes in any of the symptoms noted.

How was the checklist developed?

It was developed by Dr. Jennifer Torr (MBBS, MMed – Psychiatry, FRANZCP, member Faculty Psychiatry of Old Age), previous  director of Mental Health at the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria.

Citation – Torr, J., Iacono, T., Graham, M., & Galea, J. (2008). Checklists for general practitioner diagnosis of depression in adults with intellectual disability. .Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52, 930-941

The first trial of the checklist was in a study conducted by CDDH psychiatrists and researchers, with follow-up evaluations. This study was funded by a /beyondblue /Victorian Centre of Excellence in Depression and Related Disorders research grant. Click here for study details.

Conditions of Use

The checklist will be made available without charge. People who wish to access the checklist are asked to provide information about themselves and the proposed use of the checklist, and to agree that these uses will be in accordance to the parameters set out on this page.

People requesting the checklist will be licensed to make the number of copies indicated on the request form, but can be licensed to make further copies by repeating this process.

I understand that the information provided by me will be used and disclosed by Centre for Developmental Disability Health for evaluative and funding purposes in an aggregate and de-identified form and I consent to such use and disclosure.

I also understand that I can gain access to the information provided and that the collection of this information will fall within the scope of the Centre for Developmental Disability Health privacy policy. A copy of which may be accessed by this link – Privacy Policy

Please complete the request form, once we receive your details you will be emailed instructions on how to access the checklist.

Depression Checklist Request Form


Please indicate if you agree to the following:
Use of the checklist according to the parameters set out in the Information Sheet.
Acknowledgement of the authorship of the checklist when making reference to it or presenting any part of it in a public domain, as follows: Torr, J. & Iacono, T. (2006). Depression in adults with intellectual disability: Depression checklist. Accessed from http://www.cddh.monash.org/. Use of no more than the number of copies indicated in the Information Requested form.




If you don’t receive an email response within 10-20 minutes, please ensure that you have provided a correct email address and try again. If this fails please contact cddh@monashhealth.org

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