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Finding causes and treating depression in teenagers

Join a Research Study: Enrolling nationally from around the country

To find out if you qualify, email NIMH or call 1-301-827-1350 [TTY: 1-866-411-1010].

This research study seeks to find causes and treatments of depression in teenagers. The study goals are to increase our knowledge of treatments for depression and understand how the brain changes when teenagers have depression. The study will also compare teenagers with depression to those without mental health diagnoses as they grow up.

The study is recruiting participants ages 11-17 who are depressed. They must have a pediatrician or other medical provider, be medically healthy, and able to perform research tasks. They may not currently be hospitalized, psychotic or actively suicidal. Teenagers with depression are eligible even if they are taking medication.

Study participation begins with an outpatient evaluation that includes clinical assessment, interviews, and questionnaires.

  • Outpatient visits may include paper-and-pencil and computer tests of mood, memory, and thinking; specialized computer games; and structural and brain imaging. If eligible, study participants may return several times a year, up to age 25. This part of the study does not involve treatment.
  • Participants may be eligible for treatment (inpatient or outpatient) for up to 25 weeks. Participation includes evidenced-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and, if indicated, standard medications. Research includes computer tasks and brain imaging. Schooling will be provided while on the inpatient unit or in day treatment.

All clinical evaluations, research tasks and visits are free of cost. Participants are compensated for research activities. Parents and teenager must agree to the teenager’s participation in research.

The studies are conducted at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland and enroll participants from the local area and from across the United States. Transportation expenses are reimbursed by NIMH.