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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.
DCRP 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.
For more information or to check your eligibility, please email MGHMindfulnessStudy@partners.org or call 617-643-5078.
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 Esther at 617-643-7690 or email@example.com.
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 Lisa at 617-724-3673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you been feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
You may be eligible to participate in a research study at Mass General. 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.
You will receive FDA-approved bupropion XL (Wellbutrin XL®) or placebo for four to eight weeks and undergo two positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance (PET-MR) scans.
You will be compensated up to $832.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Joey Cheung at 617-724-9458 or at MGHNBPStudy@partners.org. All inquiries will be kept confidential.
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.
Learn more about this study.
For questions, please contact Garrett at 617-724-3222.
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.
For questions, please contact Taquesha at 617-724-3520.
The purpose of this study is to develop an adapted version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically for individuals diagnosed with depression and have sustained a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
For more information or to see if you might be eligible, please contact Lisa at 617-724-3673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid research on depression, stress, and the brain.
Have you been feeling sad, blue or down? Have you lost interest in activities you normally enjoy?
McLean Hospital and Mass General researchers are looking for volunteers to understand the role of dopamine, a chemical that is naturally released by brain cells, in emotions and behavior. Participating in this study will take up to 14 hours. For your time, you will receive up to $731.
We are seeking adults who are between the ages of 18-45 years old, right-handed and not currently taking any prescription drugs for depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Lindsey at 617-724-7244 or email@example.com. Please include your phone number and some good times to reach you, and researchers will contact you to conduct a preliminary phone screen and to provide more information about the study.
Are you currently struggling with depression? Have you been unable to find relief with standard antidepressant medication?
We are seeking patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) between the ages of 18 and 65 to participate in a new depression research study. This study is testing whether the combination of the drugs brexpiprazole and intranasal ketamine can safely and effectively treat people who are already taking an antidepressant medication, but have not had a satisfactory response.
If you are interested in learning more about this study, please contact Maya at 617-726-3129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of this research study is to compare the effect of augmenting an antidepressant with aripiprazole (common brand Abilify) or rTMS (commonly referred to as Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) versus switching to venlafaxine XR (common brand Effexor) for participants who have tried an antidepressant in the past but has not helped their depression.
To participate, you must already be on an antidepressant medication, but it isn’t working very well.
For more information, please contact Ben at 617-724-0586 or email@example.com.
Do you feel sad, down, or depressed? Are you between the ages of 18-30 years old? Do you have the free smartphone application “RealLifeExp”?
If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at Mass General called Project A.C.E (Affect, Cognitions, and Experiences). The purpose of this study is to help understand the relationship between thoughts and emotions, in relation to life experiences and stress. We hope to understand why some people develop depression and how it is related to life events. We hope that this study will teach us about prevention and treatment options for those with mood disorders.
If you are eligible, we will ask you to make an initial study visit to Mass General. During this visit, you will complete questionnaires, an interview and several a computer tasks. We will then ask you to complete numerous brief questionnaires through a smartphone app. Finally, if you complete these first two components, you may be eligible for a second part of the study which will involve four more visits to our clinic.
You will be paid up to $150 for your time and effort if you complete all parts of the study.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Regina at 617-724-2936, or Dr. Shapero at 617-726-3855, or ProjectACE@partners.org.
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
Sean Boyden graduated from Tufts University in 2017 with a BS in biopsychology and community health. While at Tufts, Sean volunteered as a clinical research trainee in the Rheumatology Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he investigated central pain mechanisms and chronic pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Sean also worked in the International Social Insect Research Facility in the Tufts Biology Department. During his senior year, he conducted an independent research project on the ability of an invasive wasp species to vector microbial pathogens. After his time at DCRP, Sean plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in psychiatry research.
Ben Campbell graduated from Dartmouth College in 2010 with a BA in anthropology. As an undergraduate, he worked in Dr. Bucci’s neuroscience lab, conducting experiments with mice to investigate the role of the retrosplenial cortex in fear memory. The research had implications for treatment of patients with PTSD and other traumatic experiences. In college, Ben also developed an interest in global mental health issues. As the director of the Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health, Ben organized a campus-wide awareness campaign focused on mental health, particularly among refugee populations. Ben later worked with a team at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health to assess the impact of an SMS-message program aimed at reducing postpartum depression among 5,000 women in rural China. After the DCRP, Ben wants to do work that improves mental health at the community and population levels.
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.
Taquesha Dean graduated from DePauw University with a BA in psychology and religious studies. As an undergraduate, she conducted a research project analyzing the role of alcohol use and personality traits in predicting psychopathic behavior under the supervision of Dr. Scott R. Ross. During her senior year, she completed her thesis under Dr. Sharmin Tunguz, where she explored the organizational and psychological causes and impacts of sexual harassment in the workplace. Taquesha gained valuable clinical experience as an intern at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital providing milieu and group therapy at a psychiatric outpatient program. She also served as a court appointed special advocate where she worked with children who had been abused or neglected. After her two years at the DCRP, Taquesha plans to pursue a PhD in clinical forensic 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.
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.
Regina Roberg graduated from Brandeis University in 2017 with a BA in psychology and Hispanic studies. As an undergraduate, Regina was a research assistant at the Brandeis University Memory and Cognition Lab, studying the impact of language on memory and learning in different age populations. Regina completed a summer internship at a clinic in Buenos Aires, Argentina, assisting psychologists with patient intake cases and facilitating mental health hygiene workshops, while also conducting public health-oriented research on mental health care access for at-risk communities. During her senior year, Regina interned at Mass General's OCD & Related Disorders Program, assisting with the coordination of a study that examined fear extinction and neural mechanisms of change in OCD. After her time at the DCRP, Regina plans to pursue a doctoral 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.
Garrett Thomas graduated from Bowdoin College in 2017 with a BA in neuroscience and a minor in English. Throughout college, Garrett was a member of several varsity sports teams and worked with the Counseling Department as a sports psychology intern. Garrett also worked on several research projects through Bowdoin’s Neuroscience and Psychology Departments. His senior year, Garrett received funding to conduct an independent study under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Reese, which assessed the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on mood, stress, proprioception and burnout in student-athletes who recently sustained an injury. After the DCRP, Garrett plans to attend medical school.
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.
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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.
Depression can profoundly impact an individual's quality of life. Its impact 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. Projections estimate that depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. The annual cost of depression in the U.S. alone is approximately $70-80 billion.
Depression has also been characterized by an increased risk of suicide, particularly in children and adolescents. In the last 50 years, the suicide rate has tripled for 15-19-year-olds and doubled for 10-14-year-olds. Currently, suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death in adolescents.
Each year, thousands of individuals struggling with depression will turn to the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital for therapies that offer hope and alleviate suffering. The DCRP relies on philanthropy to advance its mission of providing the highest-quality patient care, and conducting state-of the-art scientific research to discover more effective and innovative depression therapies. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, foundations and private and public supporters, the DCRP remains passionately committed to generating new treatments and standards of care – not only for our patients, but also for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from this disorder. Philanthropy enables the DCRP to:
The DCRP is poised to make a profound impact on depression treatment, while also fostering a vital training ground for the next generation of leaders in the field.
Make a gift online today
To learn more about philanthropic opportunities and ways to support the vital work of the Depression Clinical and Research Program, please contact:
Katherine “Kay” LiscombSenior Director of DevelopmentMassachusetts General Hospital Development Office125 Nashua Street, Suite 540Boston, MA 02114617-643-5778 firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the nature and treatment of depression, we suggest the following websites:
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.
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
Depression Management: Christine Dording, MD, discusses options for depression management
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