Adolescent depression may be identified and treated earlier if the aims of a new £1 million research project are successful.
Cardiff University has won a bid for the annual medical research award from the Sir Jules Thorn Trust.
The joint team from the Schools of Medicine and Psychology will embark on a five-year project to develop a software package to help GPs identify teenagers at risk of depression so treatment can begin earlier.
Project leader Anita Thapar, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the School of Medicine said: “Depression is set to become the second largest cause of medical disability in the world by 2020. Most adult sufferers start to show symptoms during adolescence but the problem is rarely identified at that stage.
“This award really is a fantastic boost, both for Cardiff and for research in this field. This project will not only be scientifically valuable, it will produce direct benefits for the treatment of adolescents and adults with depression.”
The study called ‘Predicting and Preventing Adolescent Depression’ will look at children aged 10 to 17. Researchers will look at the symptoms of depression such as loss of interest as well as family, social and genetic factors linking parental depression to adolescent mental health problems.