An innovative new self-help project for people with mild to moderate depression was launched today (26th January 2005) by NHS Greater Glasgow and Depression Alliance Scotland.
The £350,000 project, entitled START (Self-help Treatment Access Resource Team), is one of seven projects currently being rolled out across the country as part of the Scottish Executive's ‘Doing Well by People with Depression' initiative.
Initially the project will be piloted in the Primary Care Mental Teams covering the Strathkelvin, Clydebank and Maryhill/Woodside areas of Glasgow, before being rolled out across the rest of the city over the next three years. The project has already been established within the Drumchapel area.
Individuals within the pilot areas will have the opportunity to attend self-help clinics run by START self help support workers who are psychology graduates. Depending on their preference they can either attend one-to-one sessions with the self-help support worker or participate in group sessions. People can be referred to the new self-help clinics via their GP.
The START project uses resource materials developed by Dr Chris Williams, Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Greater Glasgow and Senior Lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Glasgow. These include a series of ‘Overcoming Depression' workbooks and an ‘Overcoming Depression' CD Rom. These materials have been developed to help healthcare professionals work with people who are experiencing mild to moderate levels of depression, including those who have depression at a level requiring the use of antidepressant medication. The materials use modern educational techniques and evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which aim to help improve depression and anxiety.
Individuals can also attend one of several new self-help support groups being established by the charity Depression Alliance Scotland in partnership with the START project. The support groups, which will be run by voluntary facilitators, are open to anyone with mild to moderate depression and do not require a referral from a healthcare professional.Details of the new support groups can be obtained from Depression Alliance Scotland by emailing [email protected] or telephoning 0131 467 3050.
The START project lead will also train staff working in Primary Care Mental Health Teams in the use of the self-help techniques and resources. This will
enhance the skills of staff already working with people with mild to moderate depression and increase the capacity to offer this type of support.
Liz Rafferty, Lead for the START project, said: "Psychological treatments for depression are popular however due to the high patient demand and limited number of specialist services available, there was a real need to develop new ways of increasing access to this type of treatment."
She added: "The START project will not only improve the range of self-help and psychological support currently available for people with depression but will also significantly increase the capacity within NHS Greater Glasgow to deliver this type of treatment and support on an ongoing basis."
Dr Chris Williams, Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Greater Glasgow and Senior Lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: "In America and Britain several self-help materials have been assessed and shown to be effective. The ‘Overcoming Depression' workbooks use this popular self-help format and the CBT model which also has a proven effectiveness in the treatment of depression.
The START project will be evaluated by the Centre for Change and Innovation to inform the development of future self-help services across the country. In addition, NHS Greater Glasgow plans to carry out research to identify who is most likely to benefit from self-help approaches.
Elsbeth Campbell - (0141) 211 3891
Notes to Editor
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based and structured form of psychotherapy that aims to alter unhelpful thinking (cognitions) and behaviour that is part of depression The model is fully compatible with the use of medication, and studies of CBT have tended to confirm that CBT used together with an anti-depressant is more effective than and either treatment alone, and that the use of CBT leads to a reduction in future relapse.
For further details of the Scottish Executive's Doing well by People by Depression initiative please visit the Centre for Change and Innovation web-site www.cci.scot.nhs.uk
Depression Alliance Scotland is the leading national charity working to support people with depression and their carers. It aims to reduce the stigma and isolation associated with this illness. For further information please visit the Depression Alliance Scotland web-site www.depressionalliance.org