New NICE guidelines are now out, which make recommendations on the identification, treatment and management of depression in adults.

Exeter expertise helps revise guidelines on treatment for depression

The University of Exeter’s expertise in depression is helping to shape future care for people suffering from the condition.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidance on the treatment and management of depression in adults.

This new guideline updates previous NICE guidance on depression (CG23) issued in 2004. University of Exeter Professor, Willem Kuyken, was a member of the panel that drew up the new guidelines. He also chaired a sub-group focused on psychological therapies.

The new guidelines make recommendations on the identification, treatment and management of depression in adults in both primary and secondary care.

Professor Willem Kuyken of the University of Exeter said: “Depression affects nearly one in six people in the UK at some point in their lives. It is one of the most challenging health problems facing the NHS and this revised guideline provides an up-to-date overview of the approaches most likely to help people suffering depression.

“One of the features of the updated guideline is the increased range of effective treatment options recommended. The guideline offers the patient choice and will support doctors and those with depression to find the best treatment for them. Recommended treatments include supported self-help treatments, structured group physical activity programmes, cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, behavioural activation, behavioural couples therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.”

“We are lucky here in the South West to have the Mood Disorders Centre, which is a partnership between the NHS and the University of Exeter. Our mission is to conduct psychological research, assessment, treatment and training for the benefit of people who suffer from depression.”

Based in the University of Exeter’s School of Psychology, the Mood Disorders Centre holds more than £5million in external funding to further develop evidence-based therapies that are as accessible to people with depression as possible. Planning permission has now been granted for a new clinical research facility for the Mood Disorders Centre, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The Mood Disorders Centre is committed to understanding depression better and using that information to inform treatments for depression. The highest quality research is undertaken in order to better understand depression and its consequences. The Mood Disorders Centre is uniquely set up to then directly put that knowledge into clinical practice and to test how new evidence-based treatments work. 

Alongside its commitment to undertake high quality research, the Mood Disorders centre is dedicated to ensuring that these interventions are adopted within services and help to directly improve the quality of treatment received by patients.

The Centre also offers a specialist clinic, commissioned by the NHS, which makes new and emerging psychological therapies for depression available to people. The clinic has already proved to be a success with GPs and patients as it enables early access to therapies as soon as they have been through the cycle of development, delivery and outcome measurement.

The main symptoms of depression are loss of pleasure in things that were once enjoyable and loss of interest in other people and usual activities; it is often accompanied by irritability or tiredness, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts, and problems with sleep, concentration and memory. It is a serious illness which results in more deaths than any other psychiatric disorder, can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and presents a significant burden for individuals, families and society.


Date: 29 October 2009

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