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Depression research priorities – where next?

Ten research questions for depression were prioritised by patients, carers and healthcare professionals. Now what needs to happen to get them answered by research?

Despite 1 in 10 people in the UK living with depression, little is known about the condition or how best to treat or prevent it.

If we’re going to change this, it’s important we know the most important issues to focus on first. Which is why last week we made an in important step forward, announcing the top ten research priorities, as identified by those affected by depression and healthcare professionals.

For the first time, this provides researchers with a clear picture of what answers those affected by the condition feel would make the biggest difference to their lives.

And the research priorities spanned a huge range of areas, including: prevention; early intervention; impact on employment; education to combat stigma; and how wait times for services affect depression.

But now the challenge is getting these questions answered by research.

We’ve already heard of researchers using these priorities as evidence and inspiration for funding bids. But we know there is more to be done.

The priorities need to be unpicked and translated into detailed questions. Researchers, of all disciplines, need to champion the different priorities and take them forward. Most crucially, funding needs to be found from a range of different sources.

In addition, some of the questions are complex and could lead to many different research projects, offering opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration. Involvement of the patient community has to be more effectively encouraged in order to help ensure that the research remains true to the priorities of those with lived experience.

At MQ we have our own thoughts on how this can be achieved. But we are keen to encourage dialogue and discussion with researchers and funders, to help in identifying what the next steps should be. So that we can make sure these questions turn into the right projects.

Last updated: 4 September 2017

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