Project Description: ASSessing and Enhancing Resilience To DEPression in people with long term medical conditions in the era of the current Greek social and financial crisis.

The rising social and income inequalities during the current Greek recession are associated with increased prevalence of major depression and suicide rates. People with chronic physical illnesses are considereted vulnerable, as about 25-30% also have marked anxiety and depression, which are associated with impaired health and increased healthcare use. These emotional difficulties often do not receive the attention they merit.

Numerous psychosocial factors have been linked to depression onset and a genetic predisposition has been also suggested. This programme aims to develop psychosocial strategies to enhance resilience to depression in most affected by the current Greek crisis vulnerable patients, through a programme of combined basic and applied health services research. Our reserach plan includes three phases.

  1. In Phase 1 we will collect information from approximately 450 people, 300 with 3 chronic illnesses: diabetes, rheumatologic disorders and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease attending follow-up specialty clinics or seeking unscheduled care and 150 alleged healthy controls. It also involves the study of polymorphisms of specific genes relevant to depression.
  2. In Phase 2 we will develop a clinical prediction rule to identify people resilient to or at risk for major depression. This phase will focuses on the potential impact of the current crisis upon mental health and well being in vulnerable groups, in conjunction with the results of the genotyping analysis.
  3. Phase 3 involves the development of a pilot low-intensity intervention specifically designed to be used in conjunction with the clinical prediction rule, aimed at helping people cope with their illness and the crisis better.
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Our programme aims to identify the most vulnerable to the current crisis patients regarding depression development and demonstrate the beneficial effect of introducing the clinical prediction rule care intervention.
The expectation of the research team is that work from this study will inform clinical practice and policy.

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The project "Assessing and enhancing resilience to depression in people with long term medical conditions in the era of the current Greek social and financial crisis (ASSERT-DEP)”has been co-financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 (EEA GR07/3767) and National funds as part of the program “Dissimilarity, Inequality and Social Integration".