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Priory Group to support largest ever UK study into the genetic links between anxiety and depression

  • 1 in 3 people in the UK will experience symptoms of anxiety or depression in their lifetime
  • Study will enable experts to learn more about the genetic factors that may influence anxiety and depression, and find more effective treatments

A pioneering project researching the genetic links between anxiety and depression is being supported by the Priory Group, the mental healthcare specialists.

The ground-breaking study, launched today (September 18, 2018) is being run by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) BioResource Centre Maudsley.

It is being supported by the Priory Group which runs the largest independent network of mental healthcare hospitals and clinics in the country.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. In the UK, 1 in 3 people will experience symptoms during their lifetime.

The study aims to better understand depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. It is hoped that 40,000 volunteers aged 16 and over will agree to be part of a database.

To improve understanding of the genetic risk factors, researchers will collect psychological questionnaire data and biological (saliva) samples so they can learn more about the factors that may influence anxiety and depression.

The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) study is funded by the NIHR and led by Dr Gerome Breen and Professor Thalia Eley from King’s College London. The NIHR BioResource is a national NHS initiative where the aim is to collect genetic and clinical data from volunteers to build up a central library of information about people’s health.

Researchers say the study is aimed at improving the lives of those not only with depression and anxiety, but other health conditions.

Details of what will be required of participants is here. They must have experienced clinical anxiety and/or depression, be aged 16 or above and live in England

Professor David Veale, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London, who is the clinical lead in anxiety within the study, said; I am hugely excited about the potential of the GLAD Study. Mental health research has always been limited by the availability and accessibility of viable participants. Creating a ‘bank’ of willing volunteers with depression or anxiety will vastly improve the potential for vital research into the two conditions and will reduce the time-consuming processes of patient recruitment. Through the GLAD Study research, I hope that we can develop a better understanding of the link between genetics and environment, so we can provide more effective, evidence-based treatments and advice for people living with mental health conditions.”

Dr Sylvia Tang, CEO of Priory Healthcare, said: “Here at the Priory, we fully support authoritative research aimed at helping those with anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions, in a bid to find even more effective treatments and increase our understanding of these distressing conditions. Staff at Priory Hospitals and Wellbeing Centres are being encouraged to issue the GLAD survey details to any patients with anxiety and depression who might like to take part, as the outcomes could be tremendously useful for generations to come. Mental health research is vital in helping to improve patients’ lives and enhance our knowledge.”


Notes to editors

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About Priory Group

The Priory Group is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK caring for around 30,000 people a year for conditions including depression, stress, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harming. The Group is organised into three divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, and adult care. The Priory Group is owned by NASDAQ-listed Acadia Healthcare, which is recognised as a global leader in behavioural health.

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