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Research project

Distress Pathways

Project overview

Emotional distress is very common in those who go to see health care professionals (HCPs) working in primary care. it is important that HCPs provide the best care possible, and don’t offer treatments that may not be necessary. It is also important HCPs don’t miss conditions such as depression and anxiety which require specific treatments. In the Netherlands, an approach is used where distress is viewed as related to, but separate from, depression and anxiety. This is different to the UK, where distress may be seen as part of depression.

To test the approach used in the Netherlands here in the UK, we will need to develop effective support for people who are distressed, but not experiencing depression or anxiety. The aim of this study is to explore HCPs’ views on how best to manage distress that may not be depression or anxiety. To do this we will interview up to 30 HCPs including GPs, advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), paramedic specialists, social prescribers and psychological well-being practitioners. We will use semi-structured interviews, conducted over the phone or online.

All interviews will be typed up accurately and the research team will analyse the resulting transcripts to develop our understanding and interpretation of the interview data. The work will be used in future to support the sharing and development of effective care approaches for those experiencing high levels of distress, without conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Co-Principlal Investigators
Dr Adam Geraghty
Dr Hannah Bowers

NIHR SPCR FR6 project 668


Lead researcher

Dr Adam Geraghty BSc MSc PhD CPsychol FHEA

Assoc Prof Psychology & Behavioural Med

Research interests

  • Self-management of pain and other chronic symptoms/conditions
  • Mental health
  • Digital interventions for primary care and public health
Other researchers

Professor Tony Kendrick BSc MD FRCGP FRCPsych FHEA

Professor of Primary Care

Professor Paul Little

Professor in Primary Care Research

Professor Miriam Santer

Professor of Primary Care Research

Research interests

  • Self-management of long-term conditions
  • Primary Care Dermatology - particularly eczema, acne and cellulitis
  • Mixed methods research including development and evaluation of complex interventions

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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