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Can exercise treat depression in teenagers?

UEA researchers are part of a project to investigate whether exercise could be a beneficial treatment for mild to moderate depression in young people aged 13-17.

It is already known that exercise can help with depression. But until now it hasn’t been known whether encouraging teenagers to exercise as part of a group, could help combat low mood.

The study will compare the benefits of high and low intensity group exercise for young people living with depression, with spending time with a group of their peers.

Teenagers in the East of England will be the first to take part in the READY Trial (randomised trial of energetic activity for depression in young people) - before the study is rolled out to involve 1,000 young people nationwide next year.

The multi-disciplinary trial will include health, psychology, and exercise researchers and has received £2.37 million in funding from the NIHR.

It will be led by the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with UEA’s Clinical Trials Unit, the University of Bedfordshire, Mental Health Trusts in Hertfordshire and Norfolk & Suffolk and local community sports provider organisations.

Prof Andy Jones, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We are very pleased to be part of this important study, which will explore whether taking part in group exercise could help as an intervention for young people with depression.

Co-lead researcher Dr Daksha Trivedi from the University of Hertfordshire, said: “We will be working closely with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and GPs to sensitively work with families and health providers to research and potentially find effective use of behavioural medicine and exercise to treat depression.”

Dr Tim Clarke, from the Children, Family and Young People’s Mental Health Service at NSFT said: “This is a great opportunity to explore an intervention that expands traditional offers of support for young people with low mood and could potentially improve provision and increase access to evidence based interventions.

Study Medicine at UEA

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