Mind celebrates Big Lottery Fund research grant
Posted Tuesday 4 April 2006
Research to examine care of neglected group: patients with chronic depression
Mental health charity Mind today celebrated a £374,655 Big Lottery Fund grant for research into the care of people with chronic depression.
The money will be used to fund a study by University College London, where researchers will measure how providing structured, proactive care to patients with chronic/recurrent depression in primary care settings compares to the usual GP care.
By 2020, depression will be the second biggest health problem globally (1). The most common calls to the MindinfoLine are about depression and anxiety. So it is crucial that we develop the tools now to allow GPs to best help patients with chronic depression.
A recent pilot study indicated that referring patients with chronic recurrent depression to a practice nurse for structured care has benefits. The research grant allows for a full scale trial to assess whether this approach leads to better mental health and social benefits for patients, is cost effective, and improves the skills and attitudes of primary care professionals who work with people with long-term depression.
Patients at practices in the trial who haven't benefited from traditional approaches will be referred to a practice nurse. The practice nurse will proactively contact these patients, and give advice or referrals personally appropriate to them. A nurse may suggest further treatments, or refer a patient to other projects. For example, a patient may be referred to debt counselling, a gardening project (for therapeutic exercise) and also given advice about their diet.
Sophie Corlett, Mind's Director of Policy said:
"At any time, around one in ten of the UK population are experiencing depression, and for some it can be a debilitating, long-term condition for which primary care services traditionally offer no effective treatment. We welcome the Lottery grant, and hope that this project will find a better way of supporting recovery for a group that has been forgotten."
Dr Marta Buszewicz, UCL Primary Care and Population Sciences senior researcher, said:
"People with chronic depression are frequently lost from effective care provision, with a great cost both to themselves and to society. We want to find out whether careful, consistent care will be reflected in better mental health for these patients."