Skip to content

The Cardiff University Mood and Wellbeing Study

This study, also known as the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression (EPAD) study, aims to improve understanding of the causes of young people’s mental health.

We also aim to develop evidence-based methods of early intervention and support for people experiencing mental health challenges – with a particular focus on difficulties with low mood and depression.

Background

In General Practice, tools that predict physical health problems are used routinely. We plan to use the results of this study to develop similar tools not currently available for mental health. These sorts of tools will help to ensure that people most in need receive the support and care they need.

The study includes 337 families from across the UK where an individual has been affected by low mood. It is currently the largest study of its type in the world. Since it started in 2007, families have taken part in interviews and a range of other assessments three times when the young people were teenagers.

The study is unique because it has followed families throughout their lives and listened to and documented the ups and downs for over ten years. This type of study enables a thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of low mood and resilience to depression. As well as contributing to the expertise and knowledge of depression nationally and internationally, our research ultimately aims to help those individuals affected by mental health and their families.

The Medical Research Council has funded a fourth phase of research (2017-2020) enabling us to revisit all families and follow the young people into their adult life.

“Taking part in this research took away the shame I was experiencing from living with chronic low mood. This study was the forerunner in taking mental health seriously, investigating its life span and its impact on families. As the rest of society gets on board with promoting wellbeing and wellness, I am proud to have been here at the start.”

Parent

Our findings so far

Thanks to the families taking part in our study over the last ten years, we are beginning to understand the causes of mental health difficulties as well as positive mental health. We have made many important scientific discoveries and published over 50 reports in scientific journals to date, as well as over 100 papers about depression. You can find these papers on the profiles of our researchers.

A snapshot of some of our most important scientific findings includes identifying factors that promote mental health resilience in young people as well as those that predict the onset of mood problems. Another finding suggests different types of adolescent depression. On a more practical level, several families in our study have contributed to the development of an online package to help young people and their families manage low mood.

The development of this package has been led by Dr Rhys Bevan Jones at Cardiff University. The package is currently being tested in a randomised controlled trial of young people experiencing low mood in a project funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Take part in our research

Understanding the causes of low mood and depression, and identifying who might be more likely to develop difficulties before problems arise, helps us create better ways to support people and prevent early problems from escalating into something more serious. Taking part in our study is an incredible way to help achieve this and without your help research like this wouldn’t be possible.

"This study is researching a really important topic, one close to my heart. Hopefully I am able to play a small part in helping other people. The researchers are friendly and flexible, offering to meet me in my house if needed and the meetings are normally no longer than two hours so it's really not much time to set aside during the day. I'd definitely advise anyone thinking about taking part to do it."

Young person

Families are usually contacted by the University to organise participation. However if you have taken part in the study previously and would like to arrange taking part in this current phase, please get in touch.

Get in touch

Further information

Parent information sheet.docx

12 March 2019

This information sheet will help you decide whether you would like to take part in our study again.

Word

Young person information sheet.docx

12 March 2019

This information sheet will help you decide whether you would like to take part in our study again.

Word

Our team

Our team is based at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, a centre of excellence for mental health research.

Academic leads

Professor Frances Rice

Professor Frances Rice

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Email:
ricef2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8384
Professor Stephan Collishaw

Professor Stephan Collishaw

Personal Chair, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Email:
collishaws@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8436
Dr Ajay Thapar

Dr Ajay Thapar

Honorary Research Fellow, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Email:
thaparak@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8490
Professor Anita Thapar

Professor Anita Thapar

Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Email:
thapar@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8478
Professor Valentina Escott-Price

Professor Valentina Escott-Price

Professor, Dementia Research Institute

Email:
escottpricev@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8429

Collaborators and advisors

We are working closely with Dr Jon Heron (Bristol University), who is providing expert advice on longitudinal trajectory analysis, and Professor David Osborn (UCL) who will provide expert analysis in individual risk prediction analysis as the study progresses.

Dr Robert Potter, Dr Amani Hassan, Dr Rhys Bevan-Jones and Dr Judith Allardyce are clinical advisors on the study.

Research team

Alice Stephens, Bryony Weavers and Jessica Lennon are at the core of our research team, visiting and interviewing families to speak to them and track the changes in their lives over the past few years.

Emma Meilak looks after the administration of our project and is the key point of contact for all our families participating in the study.

Useful resources

National Centre for Mental Health - the NCMH website has a dedicated depression section, including details on research, suggested reading and links to medication information.

Mind - information and support along with downloadable leaflets and real people's stories. Search 'depression' from the homepage.

Samaritans - available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.