Depression in teens researched by Herts Uni for £2.27 million

PUBLISHED: 08:20 22 January 2020

The University of Hertfordshire team will look at depression in those aged 13 to 17. Picture: Pixabay.

The University of Hertfordshire team will look at depression in those aged 13 to 17. Picture: Pixabay.


A University of Hertfordshire research team has won a £2.27 million contract to look into a beneficial treatment for teenagers with mild to moderate depression.

The treatment will involve an initial trial with young people, age 13 to 17, in the east of England region, which will be followed by a nationwide research study involving more than 1,000 young people, starting in 2021.

The study will chiefly focus on comparing exercising versus socialising as a way of treating depression. This will be through observing the effects of high intensity or low intensity group exercise sessions, and spending time with a group of peers.

Co-lead researcher Dr Daksha Trivedi, from the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "We will be working closely with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and GPs to sensitively work with families and health providers to research and potentially find effective use of behavioural medicine and exercise to treat depression."

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Her fellow from the Centre for Health Services and Clinical Research, Dr David Wellsted, said: "There is a gap in support and care for this particular age group. In 2018 in Hertfordshire alone over 1,000 young people were referred for mental health support.

"Our study will explore if participation in group exercise is an effective intervention for depression, which could help communities provide support for young people experiencing these issues, as well as relieving pressure on NHS services."

Principal research clinical psychologist for the Children, Family and Young People's Mental Health Service, Dr Tim Clarke, who is also involved in the project from Norfolk, said,: "This is a great opportunity to explore an intervention that expands traditional offers of support for young people with low mood and could potentially improve provision and increase access to evidence based interventions.

"The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are excited to be working with the University of Hertfordshire on this trial and working with local young people to test this intervention."

Hatfield's university team was awarded the funding by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

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