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Study exploring impact of exercise on teenage depression
NIHR-funded researchers have launched a new five year study aiming to find out whether exercise is an effective treatment for young people with depression.
The £2.27 million research trial, being led by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the Universities of Bedfordshire and East Anglia, is also seeking to discover whether such research is good value for money for the NHS.
The READY Trial (randomised trial of energetic activity for depression in young people) begins with an initial trial with young people in the East of England region, followed by a nationwide research study involving more than 1,000 young people aged 13 to 17 starting in 2021.
The study will compare the benefit of exercise for young people living with depression participating in either a high intensity, or low intensity group exercise sessions, with spending time with a group of their peers. This will include questionnaires on depression, quality of life, self-esteem, service use, session attendance and changes in physical activity.
Researchers say the findings have the potential to provide definitive evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the intervention for the treatment of depression in young people.
David Wellsted, Centre for Health Services and Clinical Research, University of Hertfordshire, said: “There is a gap in support and care for this particular age group. In 2018 in Hertfordshire alone over 1,000 young people were referred for mental health support. Our study will explore if participation in group exercise is an effective intervention for depression, which could help communities provide support for young people experiencing these issues, as well as relieving pressure on NHS services.”