or search evidence on Discover Portal

Dissemination Centre
Person walking on the beach

Options in the care of people with depression

Depression may affect more than one in ten of the UK population at any one time, and cost the NHS in excess of £500m per year, with high additional costs in informal care and lost working time. Depression is typically a recurring condition, and more than half of people who experience depression once will go on to have at least one more episode.

Up to 90% of patients with depression are treated in primary care, but care can be complex, involving a number of different specialists and requiring access to different forms of treatment. In practice care can become fragmented and reactive rather than proactive.There is also high demand for treatments for depression. Provision of psychological therapies has increased under the NHS ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ programme, but waiting lists remain in some areas.

The NIHR has funded important new research which provides evidence for a different way of managing care of people with depression – collaborative care – by co-ordinating this through a designated care manager. A key element of collaborative care is the provision of behavioural activation, a simple psychological therapy. Behavioural activation can be delivered as a standalone therapy too and this Highlight also considers the evidence for how effective it might be.

Published: March 2017


Evidence at glance

The findings boiled down, alongside practical questions to consider.

Read more

Man talking on the phone with therapist

What is collaborative care and could it work in the NHS?

Collaborative care could have potential for managing the care of people with depression in the UK.

Read more

Woman talking to therapist

Who might benefit from collaborative care?

Could collaborative care be useful for depression, regardless of whether people also have a chronic physical condition?

Read more

Person out shopping

Behavioural activation

A simple, cost effective therapy that could make a difference in people with depression.

Read more

Man on the phone by the sea

About the research

Find out more about the studies in this area and how their findings fit with current guidance. 

Read more

Up to 15%

of UK population may be affected by depression and anxiety at any one time


cost of depression and anxiety to the NHS per year

Up to 90%

of patients with depression are treated in primary care

Related Signals

An error has occurred in processing the XML document

read more

Keep up to date with the latest health research by email


National Institute for Health Research, Room 132, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS

© 2016 - 2019 NIHR, all rights reserved