South West patients needed for biggest ever study into depression and anxiety

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2019)

Healthcare professionals in the South West are offering 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.

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

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. Around 25 per cent of those referrals are for depression and 32 per cent for anxiety.

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.

Bob Jope Healthwatch Torbay

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!