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One Day Workshop can Reduce Depression

Update Date: Dec 19, 2013 04:04 PM EST

Depression is a mental illness that affects people of all ages. Even though there are antidepressants, for some people, dealing with depression can become too much. In order to help treat people with depression, researchers have been studying the illness for decades. In a new study, researchers found that a one-day cognitive-behavioral therapy self-confidence workshop could help reduce depression.

For this study, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London in the United Kingdom examined the effects of treating depressed patients with the one-day workshop program. The workshops are shaped after cognitive-behavioral therapy and are cost-effective because they can reach roughly 30 people per workshop. Traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy might last 12 weeks and usually involves small groups with eight to 10 people.

The one-day workshops were conducted at eight London boroughs during the weekends in a community center, such as a library. Researchers distributed flyers titled "How to improve yourself-confidence" in several locations, such as pharmacies, libraries and leisure centers. A total of 1,042 people asked about the workshop but only 459 qualified to participate. The people were all over 18-years-old and had depression. The researchers put 228 people the workshop group that was headed by psychologists while 231 were put on a waiting list and acted as the control.

After completing the one-day session, the researchers followed up on all 459 participants 12-weeks later. The researchers found that people who received the treatment had lower depression scores than people who were on the waiting list. The people in the workshop also reported improved self-esteem and reduced anxiety. The researchers found that the workshops worked better for women than men.

"Our trial shows that self-confidence workshops are clinically effective at improving depression, reducing levels of anxiety and increasing self-esteem. What was also very important was that these workshops were designed to be very accessible. Many people with depression are reluctant to seek help from their GP [general practitioner], especially those from black and minority communities. But we found that advertising our workshops, using a 'self-confidence' label, was an effective way of reaching out to members of the public with depression who had not previously sought help," the lead researcher, Dr. June Brown, who is also a senior lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychology at IoP, King's College London, said.

Brown added, according to Medical Xpress, "Our trial suggests that these accessible workshops - which are relatively cheap to run - can be a very effective way of engaging people with depression in treatment, and could help the under treatment of depression in the UK."

The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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