If you would like to participate in any of our studies please email mdcadmin@exeter.ac.uk or call 01392 726449. Or click here to contact researchers directly about their studies.

mindflow consists of five audio-visual pieces about the experience of living with depression, created by playwright Daniel Jamieson in collaboration with a number of other creative artists, during a ten-month artistic residency (2012/13) in the Mood Disorders Centre. Find out more.

Research

Our research is focused on the whole 'spectrum' of mood disorders, including major depression and bipolar depression. This research has three main objectives:

  • To improve our understanding of mood disorders
  • To translate this understanding into therapeutic approaches
  • To improve access to high and low intensity evidence-based therapies

Depression typically co-occurs with other problems, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress and interpersonal problems. Depression also typically co-occurs with chronic health problems such as heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes and cancer. Our work aims to understand what we call the “trans-diagnostic processes”—the processes that depression shares with other mental health problems.

We aim to use our research to develop an understanding of what happens to people with mood disorders in the “real world”. By doing this we can improve and maximize the effectiveness of interventions, treatments and services.

Areas of activity

The Mood Disorders Centre works in three areas of activity that are completely inter-linked and inter-dependent, with each area informing the others:

  • The first area involves lab-based and “real world” (experience sampling) research that increases our understanding through research into biopsychosocial processes in mood disorders and applied research asking the question: ‘How do psychological therapies work?’
    This work includes research into depressive rumination, cognitive biases, autobiographical memory, cognitive flexibility, goals and motivation, attachment and social functioning, emotional regulation and dysregulation of the behavioural activation system in bipolar disorder and emotion dysregulation/impulsive responding in personality disorders. We also focus on developmental trajectories of these processes to inform better prevention of mood disorders; for example, we aim to understand the impact of early psychological trauma on the development and maintenance of mood disorders.
  • The second area focuses on developing psychological therapies based on the best available evidence. These therapies involve working with people with experience of these disorders to alleviate distress and build resilience.
    Our goal here is to improve the short-term and long-term outcomes for people who experience mood disorders. In terms of treatment development, we have existing research programmes on guided self-help, different forms of individual and group behavioural and cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
  • The third area is concerned with maximizing the accessibility of the evidence-base, evidence-based therapies and service delivery models. This includes ensuring that our training models are themselves evidence-based and that the people responsible for delivering therapies are adequately equipped. This work included a research programme on 'stepped care', which has observed the activity and behaviour of four NHS services as they developed and implemented this delivery model. In addition, we research the efficacy, acceptability and feasibility of incorporating new technology such as online or phone-based interventions into service delivery

Funding

Research at the Centre has been funded by the National Institute of Health Research, Health Technology Appraisal and Service Development Organisation Programmes, the US National Institute of Health, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Please see the current projects page for a list of all currently funded projects.