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Volunteers needed for biggest ever UK study of depression

Genetic links to anxiety and depression are to be explored in the largest ever study into the issue, experts have announced. Credit: PA

Today sees the launch of the UK's largest ever mental health study - the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression, or GLAD Study.

Researchers are calling for 40,000 people with depression or anxiety to enrol and provide DNA samples.

The study aims to investigate the influence genes have on the development of anxiety and depression.

Led by King's College London and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource, researchers hope to establish the largest database of volunteers to be part of this pioneering mental health research

Researchers urgently need more people to take part in mental health research studies.

The GLAD study is open to anyone in England aged 16 or over who has experienced clinical anxiety and, or, depression.

Taking part involves four easy steps:

  • Registering for the website at www.gladstudy.org.uk and read the information sheet
  • Provide consent
  • Complete a 30 minute questionnaire to see if you are eligible
  • Send a saliva DNA sample through the post

Signing up to the study will also involve allowing access to volunteers' NHS medical records.

This data will be held securely and will only be accessed by a limited number of approved researchers.

Those who take part will receive updates twice a year about the progress of the research and online access to information on upcoming studies.

17%
The number of adults who have experienced common mental health disorders in the East Midlands
40,000
The number of people with depression or anxiety needed to enrol and provide DNA for the new study

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions in the UK with one in three people experiencing symptoms during their lifetime.

In the East Midlands alone 17% of adults have experienced common mental disorders and 2.8% have suffered with Bipolar disorder - the highest rate in the UK.

Access to psychological therapies and drug treatments such as anti-depressants is increasing, but only half of people respond well to existing treatment options.

For the thousands who remain unwell, these conditions may worsen over time and can lead to relationship and employment problems, a poor quality of life and even suicide.