Healthcare professionals in the South West are proud to be able to offer patients in the region the opportunity to take part in the biggest ever study of depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. In the UK, 1 in 3 people will experience symptoms during their lifetime.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and researchers in the region are encouraging patients to sign up to take part in the GLAD study (Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression) which aims to better understand depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. It is the biggest ever study of its kind developed in collaboration with mental health charity MQ and with patients and service users.
The Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (CRN SWP), part of the National Institute for Health Research, is supporting sites across the region to be able to offer the study to patients.
In the coming few weeks’ two sites in the region hope to be open for recruitment to the GLAD study – Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The study is also available to join online at https://gladstudy.org.uk
Sharon Hudson, Clinical Research Specialty Lead for Mental Health at the CRN SWP, said: “The latest data shows us there has been a 20 per cent increase over the last few years in the number of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service locally which provides evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety and depression - rising from approximately 2,100 to 2,500 referrals per 100,000 population. Around 25 per cent of those referrals are for depression and 32 per cent for anxiety.
“We therefore know that depression and anxiety are the two biggest mental health issues and so it is great for the region to be backing such a high-profile study and ensuring equity of access for our patients.”
Mental health research is increasing in the South West – with 1,527 people taking part in 2017/18 and 1,675 people taking part in the last financial year.
The CRN SWP has also recently invested in a new Mental Health Research nurse whose remit will be to increase the number of research opportunities available to patients in the region, with particular emphasis on Plymouth and North Cornwall where there has traditionally been a lack of infrastructure.
“We know that patients in the region want to get involved in research and we know that patient care improves if research is happening in NHS so this really is a great opportunity,” said Sharon.