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New flagship study aims to protect young people against depression

24 April 2024

a young woman in pink and purple writing at a desk

The Wolfson Centre for Young People's Mental Health has launched an ambitious research study aimed at safeguarding young people against the risk of developing depression.

Profess Frances Rice, co-director of the Wolfson Centre and lead investigator on the study, emphasised the importance of early interventions to support youth mental health. "With the prevalence of depression and related mental health challenges among young people on the rise, it's imperative that we explore innovative approaches to provide effective support and intervention.”

With that aim in mind, the centre has launched the Skills for Adolescent Wellbeing (SWELL) study. The primary focus of the SWELL study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an online group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program for adolescents in averting depression and enhancing their quality of life.

Young people participating in the study will have the opportunity to engage in a group CBT program where they will learn invaluable skills for managing stress and fortifying their mental resilience. This study not only looks to support young people but also extends its reach to provide help to their parents and carers, by offering optimised treatment for depression, if eligible, through a personalised 12-week program led by specialist doctors and clinical teams. This important and innovative step will help the research team address and evaluate the impact of familial dynamics on a young person’s mental health and wellbeing.

To ensure the study's success, the SWELL team is actively seeking participation from parents who have experienced low mood or have been diagnosed with depression, and have children aged 13-17 exhibiting signs of low mood. By involving both parents and their children, the study aims to comprehensively assess the impact of the intervention on family life and mental wellbeing.

Participants will make an invaluable contribution to our centre’s research which aims to understand and prevent depression in young people. We really appreciate people committing to take part. As a thank you, participants will receive vouchers as compensation for their time and contribution to the study.
Professor Frances Rice Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

If you are interested in participating in the SWELL study, please complete the online application form. If you’d like to learn more about the study, contact the Wolfson Centre research team at

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We are looking for parents with a history of depression, who have a child aged between 13-17 years to take part in the Skills for Adolescent Wellbeing study.