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Enroll in a research study
The ongoing work of the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital is helping to define depression treatments for the field. Over the years, our experienced researchers and clinicians, along with our promising young trainees and junior faculty members, have collaborated to generate countless clinical reports, perform pilot studies and conduct large controlled trials.
The DCRP conducts leading-edge research in the area of depression, with a focus on testing novel antidepressant treatments and developing new tools to understand the biological changes that occur in this condition.
The clinical program delivers care outside of the research setting to people with depressive disorders. The program provides patient evaluations and follow-up care, as well as one-time consultations and second opinions.
This program is designed to help young people—men and women (ages 14 to 30)—increase their resilience and develop better coping skills for managing stress.Learn more about the program
The Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP), under the direction of David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, is a leader worldwide in the study of unipolar depressive disorders. The DCRP’s research has informed clinical practice and contributed to the development of new standards of care for depression.
The DCRP comprises a large group of experienced researchers, as well as promising young trainees and junior faculty. The group has generated countless clinical reports and conducted numerous pilot studies and large controlled trials since its inception. CRP researchers have received significant funding from both the National Institute of Mental Health and industry sponsors.
See our current studies
The Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) is currently conducting leading-edge depression research, with a focus on testing novel antidepressant treatments and developing new tools to understand the biological changes that occur in this condition.
If any of these studies interest you, please call us at 877-552-5837 to learn more. All inquiries will be kept confidential.
BCRP is conducting a clinical research study evaluating the effects on the brain of two different 8-week programs for people suffering from depression. The MBCT training program consists of weekly classes that combine cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation cultivates present moment awareness to approach thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental, self-compassionate, and overall accepting way. If you are between 21-65 and have no (or limited) previous experience with meditation, you may be eligible for this study.
Learn more about this study.
For more information or to check your eligibility, please email MGHMindfulnessStudy@partners.org or call 617-643-5078.
Are you having trouble managing your diabetes? If you are an adult between 18 and 75 and have hard-to-control diabetes, you may be eligible for a research program to help you cope with diabetes and stress. The program consists of group sessions to provide support, education, discussions of your experience with diabetes and problem-solving skills training. The goal of the study is to see if these sessions can help people manage their diabetes better, improve diabetes treatment outcomes or reduce depressive symptoms.
The study will include an evaluation and twelve group sessions.
If you are interested, please contact Maya Nauphal at 617-726-3129 or email@example.com.
Tratamiento Grupal para Pacientes de habla Hispana con Diabetes Tipo II
¿Tiene problemas para controlar la diabetes? Si usted es un adulto de entre 18 y 75 años y tiene dificultades para controlar la diabetes, es posible que reúna los requisitos para participar en un estudio de investigación de un programa para ayudarle a manejar la diabetes y el estrés en Massachusetts General Hospital. El programa consiste en sesiones grupales de apoyo y educación, donde se mantienen charlas sobre su experiencia con la diabetes y se enseñan habilidades de resolución de problemas. El objetivo del estudio es evaluar si las sesiones grupales pueden ayudar a las personas a controlar la diabetes, mejorar los resultados del tratamiento de la diabetes o reducir los síntomas de depresión.
El estudio incluirá una evaluación y doce sesiones grupales. Si está interesado/a, comuníquese con Maya Nauphal llamando al 617-726-3129 o escribiendo a firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study is trying to find ways to predict symptoms of depression and treatment response in patients being treated for depression using body rhythms. We will use devices to measure body rhythms. You will be asked to wear sensors on your wrists for eight weeks, which will be used to measure your body rhythms. We also ask that you record audio diaries and fill out surveys on your phone. We will also ask that you monitor your sleep for a few nights during the study.
For any questions, please contact Lisa at 617-724-3673 or email@example.com.
Have you been experiencing symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder that interfere with your daily life? Mass General and McLean Psychiatry researchers seek volunteers for a brain imaging study to understand how people with depression and bipolar disorder respond to reward. The study includes five sessions. If eligible to participate, you can receive up to $352.25.
We are seeking right-handed individuals, 18-50 years old with no serious medical or neurological illness other than depression or bipolar disorder to participate in five study sessions, each lasting between 2-3.5 hours.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Joey Cheung at 617-724-0586 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you overweight and feeling down? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study investigating the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in treating major depression. Eligible participants must be between ages 18 - 80, have a BMI greater than 25 and currently have depressive symptoms.
For any questions, please contact Abby at 617-724-7244 or email@example.com.
Have you been feeling down, depressed, or hopeless? You may be eligible to participate in a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are studying the brain chemistry of people who get better taking an FDA approved antidepressant medication and people who get better taking a placebo.
For any questions, please contact Madison McKee at 617-724-3520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you been feeling down or depressed? Do you no longer enjoy the things you used to?Are you interested in finding a new way to treat your depression?
If so, you may be eligible to participate in a study using hyperthermic yoga (hot yoga) to treat depression. We are conducting a study that examines whether hyperthermic yoga might be a good treatment option for people who are experiencing symptoms of depression.
During the study, participants will be assigned to begin the yoga classes immediately or put on a waitlist prior to attending the yoga classes. Participants will be asked to attend at least two hot yoga classes a week for eight weeks. Additionally, you will be asked to come to Mass General in downtown Boston for assessment visits, when you will meet with a clinician and complete several questionnaires.
For more information, please contact Maya Nauphal at 617-726-3129 or email@example.com.
This study is using transcranial light therapy (TLT) to treat depression. TLT is a novel treatment for depression that involves non-invasive and invisible beams of light that increase energy metabolism in the brain (it is not the same as electroconvulsive therapy). Some of this increased brain activity may help people with depression. The study includes an initial screening, 24 TLT sessions and a follow-up visit. Participants must be between 18 and 70 years old.
For questions, please contact Kyle at 617-724-9458.
In this study, you will receive vortioxetine (a medication approved for the treatment of depression) for six weeks. We are doing this research study to find out if vortioxetine increases our ability to think and our ability to differentiate objects.
The clinical component of the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) delivers care outside of the research setting to people with depressive disorders. The program provides a number of different services, including:
The DCRP staff includes full-time psychiatrists, psychologists, research fellows, along with research coordinators, a program coordinator, a data analyst, a practice manager and a patient service coordinator.
Call 617-726-8895 and select option 4 for an initial phone screen to determine whether this program is appropriate for you.
Because of high demand for our clinicians, treatment studies can provide an excellent option for prospective patients. If your case is appropriate, you will be matched to a provider based on your insurance and our provider availability. See our current research.
The program does not accept all insurances, and the individual physicians vary in what insurance they accept. If your insurance is not accepted by the program, you may elect to self-pay if your insurance allows it. Medicare, MassHealth products, Health Safety Net, Harvard Pilgrim, United Health Care and some Tufts Health plans that subcontract (carve out) their mental health benefits do not allow this option. The program does not accept the Magellan carve-out.
Director of the Depression Clinical & Research Program
Kate Bentley is currently completing her predoctoral internship in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy track at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, with her research placement in the DCRP. She received her BA from Amherst College and expects to receive her PhD from Boston University in May 2017. Her research is focused on the development, evaluation and implementation of emotion-focused interventions for suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injurious thoughts and behaviors.
Abby Archibald graduated from Wesleyan University in 2015 with a BA in psychology and a concentration in cognitive science. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in the Cognitive Development Lab under the supervision of Dr. Anna Shusterman. In this role, she investigated the effect of supportive touch on delay of gratification and compliance in preschool-aged children. Additionally, Abby conducted assessments for Kindergarten Kickstart, a five-week summer program aimed at helping preschool students at risk for educational disadvantage develop skills to ease their transition into kindergarten. While at Wesleyan, she also worked as a tutor for the Center for Prison Education’s Juvenile Detention Center Program and as a consent educator in local Connecticut high schools. After her time at the DCRP, Abby plans to apply to medical school.
Joey Cheung graduated from Tufts University in May 2016 with a BS in psychology and international relations. Having been interested in understanding state-level conflicts through a psychological lens, she began her academic career with a concentration in social psychology and was a research assistant at the Tufts Social Identity and Stigma Lab since 2012. She completed her senior honors thesis studying the role of perception bias on evaluating leadership performance of different intersectional gender-by-race demographic groups. During her junior and senior years, Joey interned as a Clinical Research Assistant at the McLean Hospital Behavior Health Partial (BHP) Hospital Program, a CBT-based research and clinical program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Beard and Dr. Thröstur Björgvinsson, she worked on a range of studies, including cognitive bias modification (CBM) for patients with depression and anxiety, sex differences in borderline personality disorder, and positive mental illness beliefs. After her time at the DCRP, Joey hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology to continue her work as a researcher and to train to be a clinician.
Abby Cooper graduated from Colby College in 2015 with a BA in Psychology. Throughout her time as an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in the Social Development Lab under the supervision of Dr. Tarja Raag. In this role, she investigated preschoolers’ conceptualizations of emotions, objects and sharing behaviors, as well as the potential for such perceptions and behaviors to be altered by preschool pro-social intervention programs. Additionally, she conducted new research on domestic violence and worked with a men’s batterer’s intervention program to develop clinical skills for working with this population. As a senior, Abby published a paper in the Journal of Violence and Gender, which challenged assumptions surrounding emotions, specifically anger, in preschool intervention programs. After her time at the DCRP, Abby plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.
Chelsea Dale graduated from Colgate University in 2015 with a BA in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she served as a research assistant in the Alcohol, Drugs, and Behavior Lab under the supervision of Dr. Julia Martinez. In this role, she investigated the effect of nutrition labels on alcoholic beverage consumption. In her senior year, Chelsea completed a thesis on the effect of intolerance of uncertainty on social anxiety. She has also interned at the Child Mind Institute in New York City under the supervision of Dr. Steven Kurtz as well as the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, NY, under the supervision of Dr. Russell Tobe. Additionally, she is the founder of On Giants’ Shoulders, a not-for-profit organization based on an innovative once per week 15 minute method of motivating at-risk or under-performing elementary and middle school students using video chats. At the end of her two years at the DCRP, Chelsea plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Before joining the DCRP, Esther managed a psychosocial program for refugees living in Amman, Jordan and worked as a volunteer research assistant in the Nock Lab and the Moral Psychology Research Lab at Harvard University. Esther is also a hotline counselor and peer supervisor for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. She is interested in the intersection of gender and mental health, as well as the use of technology in behavior change. Esther holds a BA from Grinnell College.
Madison McKee graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with a BS in behavioral neuroscience and a minor in business administration. As an undergraduate, she served as a research assistant on a collaborative study between the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab and the Antimicrobial Discovery Center examining the correlation between human gut bacteria and psychology. She further investigated the gut-brain axis by discussing animal models of gut dysfunction and psychiatric disorder in her biopsychology capstone thesis. During her collegiate career, Madison completed two 6-month internships, locally at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and internationally as a medical volunteer in South America. As an undergraduate, she was actively involved on the Executive Board of Northeastern University Teaching English Language and Literacy Skills, an organization that focuses on improving the English proficiency of janitorial and food service staff, as well as through membership of Peer Health Exchange, an education program that provides high school students with the knowledge and skills to make informed health choices. At the end of her two years at the DCRP, Madison plans to attend medical school.
Maya Nauphal graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with a BA in psychology. Throughout her four years as an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant at the Risk and Resilience Lab on studies that assess the interplay between biological and social contexts on children’s development, as well as the effects of adverse childhood experiences on the development of psychopathology. During her junior and senior years, she also worked as a Research Assistant at the IMPACT Lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, studying environmental and biological influences on the development of bipolar spectrum disorders. The summer before her senior year, Maya interned at Global TIES for Children, a New York University-based program that develops interventions to improve the lives of children living in low-income and conflict-affected regions of the world. In her senior year, Maya completed a thesis under the guidance of Dr. Sara Jaffee, on the role social support plays in modifying the relationship between maternal depression and depression and anxiety symptoms in children. At the end of her two years at the DCRP, Maya plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Administrative Program Coordinator
Lindsey Parnarouskis graduated from Northeastern University in 2014 with a BS in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked as a Research Assistant in Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory, studying the effect of meditation on prosocial emotions and compassionate behavior. She also interned at the Schizophrenia Program and the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was actively involved in clinical trials and work with African immigrants in the Lowell, MA area. Following graduation, Lindsey worked with the Division of Global Psychiatry to coordinate qualitative research studies and psychiatric capacity building initiatives in various countries, including Ethiopia, Liberia, and Somaliland. After her two years at the DCRP, Lindsey plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Lisa Sangermano graduated from Tufts University in 2016 with a BS in psychology and biology. While at Tufts, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Lisa Shin’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Neuroimaging lab. She completed a senior honors thesis under Dr. Shin, studying brain and behavioral responses to ambiguous facial expressions in individuals with PTSD. She was also accepted into the Tufts Summer Scholars program, where she spent a summer conducting independent research on neuropsychological vulnerability factors for PTSD. Lisa also interned at the Public Health Department of the Massachusetts Medical Society, where she created educational materials on mental health and LGBTQ health. Lisa is passionate about the intersection between biology, behavior, and the social environment and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Patient Services Coordinator
Desta Habtemariam graduated from Principia College with a BA in sociology & anthropology and The New England Institute of Art & Communications with an AS in graphic design. Prior to joining the Depression Clinical & Research Program she worked in the behavioral health field providing therapeutic training and support services to children and their families.
Sam Petrie graduated from Yale University in 2014 with a BS in psychology. As an undergraduate, he worked as a research assistant in Yale’s Depression and Cognition Program and at the Yale School of Management behavioral lab. He also worked as an executive editor of the Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology and as a Walden peer counselor. During his junior and senior years, Sam interned at the Benhaven School for students with autism and at Fellowship Place, a community center for adults suffering from psychiatric disorders. As a senior, he completed a thesis under Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema and Dr. John Dovidio, investigating the influence of contextual factors on emotion regulation. After his two years at the DCRP, Sam plans to attend medical school.
Anna Schwarz graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2015 with a BS in psychology and a minor in government. As an undergraduate she volunteered at the NYSARC Community Arts Center in Canton, NY, a program that offers creative, social and recreational opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She spent the spring semester of her junior year in Copenhagen, Denmark studying positive psychology and conducting field research that examined the association between culture and Gross National Happiness (GNH). As a senior, Anna completed a year-long honors thesis where she investigated the relationship between a judge’s gender and a juror’s ability to comprehend instructions and make decisions during a criminal trial. Ultimately, Anna hopes to pursue a degree in social work or clinical mental health counseling.
1 Bowdoin Square, 6th FloorBoston, MA 02114
For information on participating in a research study: 877-552-5837To contact the clinical program: 617-726-8895
Depression is a treatable illness that may involve an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Although depression can run in families, the direct causes of the illness are unclear. There is evidence to suggest that traumatic events, chronic stress, hormonal changes and the presence of medical illness, psychiatric illness, substance use disorder or sleep disorders may contribute to the development of depression. Depression is associated with significant suffering, morbidity, mortality and psychosocial functional impairment.
Patients who suffer from depressive disorders typically present with a constellation of psychological, behavioral and physical symptoms, but the two key features of depression are:
Both may not always be present, but at least one of them is needed to diagnose depression. The number of symptoms, their duration and the degree of functional impairment distinguish depression from a normal fluctuation in mood.
In order to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), a person must also have four of these accompanying symptom for at least two weeks:
Learn more about symptoms and treatment of depression.
MDD is the most common form of depression. Epidemiologic studies suggest that the rate of MDD in the general population at any given time ranges from 2.3-4.9%. Furthermore, approximately 13-17% of people in the U.S. or Western Europe may develop depression at some point during their lifetime.
While suicides in the general population account for about 0.9% of all deaths, about one in five patients with recurrent depressive disorders attempts suicide at some point. In fact, two-thirds of individuals who have attempted suicide were found to suffer from depression.
If you suspect you may be suffering from depression, consult with your doctor for a thorough examination.
Although "alternative" or natural medications have been used for thousands of years, the popularity of these medications worldwide has increased dramatically over the last two decades. The NIH has recognized that up to 25% of people in the U.S. seek and obtain non-traditional treatments. Some of these medications, such as St. John’s wort, kava, valerian, ginkgo and black cohosh, are derived from plants and herbs. Other medications, such as melatonin and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), are natural hormones.
Additional therapeutics include vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B12, amino acid derivatives such as phenylethylamine and omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), which are found in animals and fish. Homeopathy and acupuncture are other popular alternative treatments. More and more of our patients now inquire about these treatments, and whether or not they might offer benefit. Natural medications represent a growing field in the pharmacology of mental disorders, and may eventually prove to be a valuable addition to the psychiatrist’s pharmacologic armamentarium.
At the DCRP, we recognize the need to be informed about available alternative treatments, as well as their risks and benefits. We also recognize the need for research exploring the efficacy and safety of these medications as treatments for depression, and are committed to conducting state of the art research in this field.
If you are interested in learning more about alternative treatments, or in participating in one of our studies of alternative treatments for depression, please call us at 877-552-5837.
The Depression Clinical & Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital offers treatment and research for depression and related disorders. Learn more about these disorders.
A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things.
Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder (also called mood disorder) that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression.
Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.
Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder characterized by depression related to a certain season of the year - especially winter.
There are three different terms used to define substance-related disorders, including substance abuse, substance dependence, and chemical dependence.
The Roger S. Goldstein Fund, a non-profit organization, is a significant contributor to the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and its campaign to educate physicians in the complex battle against depression. Every year, the Roger S. Goldstein Fund creates a depression awareness calendar, which is a collaboration of 12 artists who have been touched by the illness. All proceeds of the calendar go directly toward the work of the Roger S. Goldstein Fund, which is dedicated to the education of internists to recognize and treat depression more effectively.
The calendar is also, in and of itself, another way to disseminate information about depression. If you would like to order a calendar or a set of 12 note cards, please call 508-655-4187 or email RSGFund@comcast.net.
Judith Brown Caro has a goal: to advance the understanding and treatment of depression. Depression is the most prevalent mental illness and in her words, is the "most lonely and silent disease." To reach her goal, Judy has set up the Judith Brown Caro Fund for Depression Awareness and Treatment at Mass General. Her hope is to educate people about the signs of depression and the need for timely and effective care. To this end, the fund will support the development of a DCRP newsletter, expand information offered on the DCRP website, support public lectures given by DCRP faculty, and conduct education and screening programs for the general public. If you share Judy's vision and value this work, contributions will be gratefully accepted.
For further information, please contact Carol Taylor at 617-724-8799.
Depression can have a profound impact on an individual's quality of life and the impact of depression on well-being is comparable to or greater than many chronic medical conditions. Depression is currently the leading cause of disability in developed countries, and the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide. Each year the annual cost of depression in the US alone has been estimated at $70 to 80 billion. Projections estimate that depression will rise to be the second leading cause disability worldwide by the year 2020.
In addition to disability, depression has also been characterized by an increased risk of suicide, particularly in children and adolescents. In the last 50 years, the suicide rate for 15-19-year-olds has tripled, while the suicide rate for 10-14-year-olds has doubled. Currently, suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death in adolescents.
In view of the debilitating impact of depression on the quality of life and the expected increase in disability worldwide, research is urgently needed to study new treatments aimed at improving the standard of care for depression. The DCRP is committed to conducting state-of-the-art research in depression.
If you would like to personally contribute to this effort, please contact:
David Mischoulon, MD, PhDDirector, Depression Clinical and Research ProgramMassachusetts General Hospital1 Bowdoin Square, 6th FloorBoston, MA 02114
Learn more about depression prevention, diagnosis and management from the members of our clinical team.
Depression Treatment: Maurizio Fava, MD, looks at treatments for depression
Depression Prevention: Andrew Nierenberg, MD, talks about depression prevention
Depression Diagnosis: Jonathan Alpert, MD, PhD, discusses diagnosis of depression
Management of Residual Symptoms:David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, discusses ow management of residual symptoms and mild cognitive impairment can enhance outcomes
Self-Management of Mood Disorders: Albert S. Yeung, MD, talks about self-management of mood disorders
Enhancing Cultural Sensitivity: Albert S. Yeung, MD, discusses ways to enhance cultural sensitivity
Optimizing Treatment Outcomes:Jonathan Alpert, MD, PhD, discusses ways to optimize treatment outcomes.
New Approaches to Anxious Depression: Maurizio Fava, MD, looks at new approaches to anxious depression
Depression Management: Christine Dording, MD, discusses options for depression management
To learn more about the nature and treatment of depression, we suggest the following Web sites:
Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceOffers information on mood disorders, local and national support groups, programs and publications, and relevant news and research updates.
National Foundation for Depressive IllnessEducational and advocacy site, providing information for patients and physicians referrals through a toll free telephone number.
National Institute of Mental Health DepressionNIMH site with thorough information on depression causes, symptoms and treatments. This site also features case studies, NIMH booklets and information on current NIMH studies.
National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI)Nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families and friends of people with severe mental illnesses.
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