The stressed brain & depression

Understanding depression is challenging both for professionals and for the public. It is complex and poorly conceptualized. Clinical depression involves biological, psychological and social causes that all contribute to the expression of depression in each individual sufferer. Trauma, especially early in life when body systems are developing, can giving rise to a "stressed brain". This sets up these systems to further damage that may lead to a "depressed brain". The evidence for the ongoing damage to brain networks caused by excessive psychological stress or untreated depression will be a key message. Our research provides evidence of how all these factors are interlinked and are inseparable from brain biology. The KEDS project will provide accessible information that we hope will counteract the stigma surrounding depression and treatment with antidepressants.

We will commission a poll from The REDC organization, examining common attitudes to depression and psychiatry. The launch of these findings would provide a centerpiece to open up a national conversation about the brain biology of stress/depression. We would provide an education programme to mental health workers providing an integrated model of depression that would aid them in their clinical practice, especially in relation to patient information. We plan to have a series of ten public lectures, The Stressed brain and Depression, based in TCD. AWARE, a nationwide patient-focused body committed to education about depression, will coperate at all stages of the project ensuring the participation of those who are or have been directly affected by mood disorders.


Award Date
28 September 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Veronica O'Keane
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme