North East research centre recruiting participants for mental health studies and treatments

The Northern Centre of Mood Disorders (NCMD) – a collaboration between Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Newcastle University – has opened new studies relating to depression.

The studies are open to new participants, as the NCMD looks to develop and find alternative treatment options for those who are struggling with their mental health. By opening up the recruitment, it provides people with the chance to receive treatments they may otherwise be unable to access.

Current and ongoing studies open to participants, include:

  • Testing the use of pulses of magnetic stimulation applied to the scalp for difficult-to-treat depression.
  • Whether a single dose of psilocybin, which is found in ‘magic mushrooms’, can help treat depression.
  • Pramipexole, a drug previously used to treat Parkinson’s disease, being used to treat depression in people with bipolar disorder.

Some of the above are open to patients who self-refer, while others require a GP or psychiatrist referral to take part.

The announcement comes as data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests that ‘the rate of people with moderate to severe symptoms of depression has nearly doubled to just under 20%’. 

Hamish McAllister-Williams, Professor of Affective Disorders at Newcastle University and CNTW, and lead of NCMD, said: “In the face of this increase in depression in the community it appears that the number of referrals and people accessing mental health services are, if anything, lower than before the pandemic. This is despite mental health services remaining ‘open for business’, albeit with some services being provided in a different way.

“Given everything that’s happening it’s all the more important that new and improved treatments for depression are developed.

“We do have a lot of treatments for depression including talking therapies and medication. However, we need new options for those individuals who find that treatment doesn’t suit them or whose depression does not respond well to existing options.”

Visit the NCMD’s website for further information on the studies.