Psychological problems such as depression and anxiety are exceptionally common for people with heart failure (HF). The relationship between HF and psychopathology is bidirectional. Whilst worsening cardiac status is associated with increased prevalence of depression, psychological distress increases the risk for many adverse cardiac outcomes.
Despite the known prevalence and the availability of evidence-based interventions, few people with HF have their psychological problems formally recognised and fewer still ever receive an appropriate intervention. National guidelines advocate the implementation of a collaborative, stepped care approach and recognise the potential utility of low-intensity, nonpharmacological interventions in helping improve access to evidence-based psychological therapy.
Awareness raising activities such as providing patient information leaflets etc is key to developing an understanding and engagement in psychological care.
In this section, we encourage all health professionals involved in the care of people with HF to be aware of, and to know how to identify those people with, or at risk of, psychological problems across the full pathway of care.