This guest blog from Alison Cranage of the charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health describes a project that aims to uncover the most important issues for depression research. If you, or someone you know, have been affected by depression at any point in your life, MQ would like to hear from you. What issues do you think depression research should address? Your views will help shape future research into the condition.
Depression can affect people from all walks of life and all sections of society. As many as 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes have depression.
It is important to note this is not an inevitable part of getting older, as many people may think. It is an illness that can be treated.
There is a range of therapies that can help people affected, regardless of their age. Yet while we do have effective treatments, they do not work for everybody and many things about depression are still unclear.
For example – could depression be prevented? How does it interact with other health conditions?
THE NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH
So, why do we need more research into depression if we have effective treatments? Because research can do so much more.
While current treatments work well for most, we know they could be better. We know that access to treatments must be improved.
If research can help us understand the causes of depression, perhaps we may be able to prevent it. Research can explore the underpinnings between mental and physical health – and how we might best treat a whole person.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
But how do we know where to start? What would make the most difference to people’s lives?
At MQ: Transforming mental health, together with a range of other organisations including charities, Royal Colleges and NHS Trusts, we have embarked on a process to find out what the most important issues are. We’re asking people affected by depression to tell us their questions about the condition.
We are working with patients, their friends and families, and healthcare professionals to prioritise the questions we receive. We’ll then turn them into top priorities for the research community.
We aim to encourage research that can make a real difference to people’s lives. Visit www.depressionarq.org to learn more about the project and get involved.