Home » Staying Well After Depression: A randomised trial

Staying Well After Depression: A randomised trial

Staying Well Trial

Depression and suicidal behaviour are major public health problems. In many people depression takes a recurrent course, and the chances of depression coming back increase with each episode of depression that a person experiences. Preventing depression from returning is particularly important for those people who feel suicidal or harm themselves when depressed, as it is very likely that they will suffer from these dangerous symptoms again if depression returns. The Staying Well After Depression study is examining whether Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a group-based treatment combining mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy for depression, is helpful in preventing recurrences of depression in people with several past episodes of depression and suicidal thinking or behaviour.

For every five people recruited to the trial, two immediately receive MBCT treatment and two receive a group-based control treatment – cognitive psycho-education (CPE). The remaining participants (1 in every 5) are asked to wait for treatment for a period of approximately 15 months. All participants continue to receive treatment as usual (from their General Practitioner or others) whilst taking part and people allocated to the wait-for-treatment condition participate in an MBCT or CPE class at the end of the trial. In order to determine the effects of treatment participants are assessed directly before and after the treatment periods and periodically during the subsequent 12 months. The assessments involve clinical interviews with trained psychologists, the completion of self-report questionnaires and behavioural tasks. These are used to assess mood and well-being, psychological functioning and the recurrence of episodes of depression and suicidal thinking or behaviour during the period of the trial.
The study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is being conducted as a multi-centre trial at the University of Oxford and at the University of Bangor recruiting participants from the area around the two cities.

Recruitment for this trial is now closed.

Information for Researchers

Two clinical interventions, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Cognitive Psychological Education (CPE) were delivered as part of this clinical trial. Further details of these interventions (content and week-by-week session plans) are given here:


CPE Plan

The protocol for this trial is published in BMC Psychiatry -Williams, J.M.G., Russell, I. T., Crane, C., et al. (2010). The Staying Well After Depression Study: Trial Design and Protocol. BMC Psychiatry, 10, 23, doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-23 download

We will continue to update this page as the results from the trial become available.

The first paper reporting some of the baseline data from the trial is given here- Williams J.M.G., Barnhofer T., Crane C., et al. (2012). Pre-Adult Onset and Patterns of Suicidality in Patients with a History of Recurrent Depression J. Affect. Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2011.12.011 download


Our first paper comparing MBCT with CPE and Treatment as Usual (Usual Care) is out now.

  • Williams, J.M.G., Crane, C., Barnhofer, T., Brennan, K., Duggan, D. et al. (2013). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Preventing Relapse in Recurrent Depression: A Randomized Dismantling Trial Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology doi: 10.1037/a0035036 download