Project Lead

Professor David Castle

Lead partner

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne


Austin Health; The University of Melbourne

Depression and anxiety are associated with poorer quality of life and functional capacity in CKD, including higher rates of mortality, hospitalisation, dialysis withdrawal and double the rate of kidney transplant rejection. Presently, there is a treatment gap in the prevention or management of these psychosocial problems in CKD.

The Kidney Optimal Health Program (KOHP) is an 8-session program that provides a framework for improving both the psychosocial and mental health of individuals. It has been proven to result in significant reductions in mental health symptoms in patients with mental health disorders and can be delivered to patients in both rural and metropolitan areas.

Preliminary analysis indicates that individuals who participated in the original program displayed clinically meaningful decreases in levels of depression and anxiety and used comparatively fewer health services. The KOHP will expand by developing strategies to engage primary care providers in the program and mapping cognitive function in participants to assess the impact of program engagement.

The initial evaluation of a psychosocial intervention for patients with chronic kidney disease demonstrated efficacy in reduction of symptoms of depression following completion of the program. Further analyses of the data are underway and will be disseminated via publication and conference presentation. The program manual is available for ongoing use by clinicians and services.

This project is supported by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as part of the Rapid Applied Research Translation program.

The program aims to offer an effective psychosocial intervention that addresses the mental and functional health of CKD patients.

Participants with chronic kidney disease who received the intervention demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in symptoms of depression over time, as compared to those allocated to the usual care group.

The manual for intervention delivery is available for ongoing use by clinicians at St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Austin Hospital.

  • Jenkins, ZM, Tan EJ, O’Flaherty E, Knowles S, Thompson DR, Ski CF, Rossell SL, Coco C, Lerino FL, Gock H and Castle DJ. (2021) A psychosocial intervention for individuals with advanced chronic kidney disease: A feasibility randomized controlled trial. Nephrology, 26(5), pp.442-453. doi:
  • Knowles SR, Apputhurai P, Jenkins ZM, O’Flaherty E, Lerino F, Langham R, Ski CF, Thompson DR and Castle DJ. Impact of chronic kidney disease on illness perceptions, coping, self-efficacy, psychological distress and quality of life. Psychology, Health & Medicine. (under review)
  • Jiang J, Jenkins ZM, Crocker KM and Castle DJ. The impact of COVID-19 on patients with chronic kidney disease. International Urology and Nephrology. (under review)
  • Jenkins Z, Tan E, O’Flaherty E, Knowles S, Thompson D, Ski C, Rossell S, Coco C, Lerino F, Gock H and Castle DJ (oral presentation; speaker). A psychosocial intervention for individuals with chronic kidney disease: a pilot randomised controlled trial. 35th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society. Virtual due to COVID-19, 23 – 27 August 2021.