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Help research into anxiety and depression by signing up to its biggest ever study

25 July 2019

Health Care

It’s an increasingly hectic world; filled with ever growing pressures at work, at home, or with health and one in three people in the UK will experience depression and anxiety.

A new study supported by Southend Hospital is helping researchers understand its genetic links, and you could be a part of this important research.

Southend University Hospital are supporting the largest ever study on anxiety and depression, called the GLAD study (Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression). The study is being run by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health BioResource and researchers at King's College London and is seeking  40,000 volunteers to take part in it.

Research has shown that 30-40% of the risk of depression and anxiety is genetic, the GLAD study wants to better understand these genetic links and how they interact with the environment so that more effective treatments can be developed.

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. There are many symptoms of depression, including low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy and problems with sleep. The more symptoms someone has, the more likely they are to be depressed.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease; everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, at a job interview or having a medical test for example. That's perfectly normal, but some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.

Dr Paula Harman, Principal Investigator for the study at the hospital, helped put these issues in context. She said: "Depression and anxiety has an impact on the lives of so many people. For the first time at Southend Hospital, we are able to offer those people who are affected an opportunity to take part in research focussed on learning more about these problems.

"We are really excited for people to take part in the GLAD study and make a difference for future generations of people. Supporting the study means supporting a search for better and more effective treatments for the future, and therefore improving the lives of those people currently suffering."

The study consists of filling in an online questionnaire, which takes 30-60 minutes to complete, and supplying a saliva sample in a kit sent to the homes of those taking part.

Anyone who is interested in joining the study can do it by contacting Dr Paula Harman by email at paula.harman@southend.nhs.uk.

To be eligible to take part you must be aged over 16 and have experienced clinical levels of depression and/or anxiety at some point in your life.