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Project 3: Durability of clinical gains and improved post-discharge support

The Oxford AHSN Anxiety and Depression Clinical Network has finalised a small pilot study exploring how best to design a ‘Durability of clinical gains’ study to establish longer term effects of evidence-based psychological therapies for common mental health disorders. A short report on the pilot study will be made available in November 2017. These findings have to be understood within the context of the very small sample size, but this work has been invaluable in designing the next phase which is the development of an app. This will focus on:

1)      Supporting the process of psychological therapies for those suffering with anxiety/depression both during and after therapy using the latest digital technology

Patients will be encouraged to record their therapeutic learning during the process of therapy (How have I come to feel/think/behave as I do? What can I do differently? What are the tell-tale signs that I am sliding back into depression/anxiety? What can I do to prevent this?). The app will provide easy and quick access to precious, personalised information.

The network is working in close partnership with its active Patient Forum to better understand what support is needed post discharge to maintain therapeutic gains (e.g. easy access to online treatment modules, signposting to local peer support groups, reminders of relaxation/mindfulness exercises etc). This information will be integrated into the app’s functionality

2)      Understanding better the ‘Durability of clinical gains’ for people who have completed a course of evidence-based psychological therapy

This part of the app functionality will offer much needed data on longevity of therapeutic outcomes which, in turn, will contribute to understanding better what is needed to reduce relapse rates/recurring anxiety/depression. We have long-established working relationships with all services enabling access to large numbers of patients for this study – each month over 2,000 patients complete treatment in the region.

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