Date: 15 February 2019
Dr Andrew Molodynski, mental health speciality lead at the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, explains new research into treatment resistant depression.
Depression is one of the most common illness that people can get and has been much in the news over recent years. As many as one in four of us at some point in our life will suffer with depression and the majority of people get treated successfully and reasonably quickly and can then get on with normal life and have meaningful relationships, work successfully, and raise families (if these things are what they want of course!).
Unfortunately, some people’s depression and anxiety becomes long term and much more difficult to treat with medicines and other kinds of therapy, such as talking treatments.
There has been quite a lot of research into different medicines for people with what is called ‘treatment resistant’ or ‘chronic’ depression, but there have been relatively few studies about how people working in the NHS can work alongside people with depression to support them to have these treatments and to get better.
One such study which I am involved with but which is being run by researchers in East London, is the TACK study. This study is a randomised trial, where people will have a 50/50 chance of either having follow-up as normal, seeing their nurse or social worker every few weeks to have support and a chance to talk about things, or to still have these regular meetings but using jointly an app on an iPad which focuses the discussion on particular aspects of their life such as finance, accommodation, symptoms of depression, or social activities.
The app has been used very successfully in people with other kinds of mental health difficulties and it is hoped that it will make a big difference to many people with long term depression as well. This is especially important as they often slip through the cracks of complicated and pressurised services. We are recruiting over a hundred patients in mental health services in the Thames Valley to take part in this study alongside their staff member and we hope that this will provide good quality evidence, funded by the NIHR and supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, for the long term management of people with persistent low mood.
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