Our BBC Feature

Project Final Report

Read a summary of the project's key findings.

Resources for GPs

Resource materials for health professionals.

DeStress 2

Read about DeStress 2


Providing effective treatment and support for mental distress is a stated government aim. Within low-income communities, use of antidepressant medication is relatively high, but current strategies tend to frame mental distress as an individual psychological problem, rather than addressing the factors that are often the root causes of suffering.

The first DeStres study aimed to examine why and how people’s ability to cope with poverty-related issues has become increasingly pathologised and understand how high levels of antidepressant prescribing and use are impacting on people’s health and wellbeing in low-income communities

The first DeStress study was completed in 2019. You can read the final report here.

Key themes that came out of the research were:

  • Stigma and moral judgement experienced by patients
  • Systemic stressors – people blamed for their life circumstances, narratives of lack of responsibility
  • Medicalising distress – people felt pressure to leigitimise their distress
  • Dissatisfcation with the medical model of distress

GP Involvment in the Project

Creating conditions for health & local communities involved in the project

DeStress 2

One of the outputs of the initial DeStress project was a set of training materials aiming to support GPs in their consultations with people from areas of economic disadvantage living with mental distress.

In a new study called ‘Implementing effective primary care responses to poverty-related mental distress’ (DeStress-2), we are delivering the DeStress training to General Practices across diverse settings encompassing diverse poverty-affected populations and learning how to optimise its impact for patients and for GPs.

Read more here.

DeStress Training

The training aims to change consultation culture away from ‘quick fix’ antidepressant prescribing towards a more scientifically robust personalised bio-psycho-social approach to providing support. Such an approach aims to improve trust and engagement with low-income patients, fosters shared decision-making with patients around treatment and support (including social interventions to address mental distress), co-creates continuity in support, and recognises and seeks to build on personal strengths.

The one-hour DeStress training sessions are delivered by our training teams which comprise a GP and one of our community partners (someone with lived experience of poverty-related mental distress). The training is delivered in a way that endorses existing good practice and encourages team-based support for change.