Study into depression in rural communities

Researchers are inviting people living in Aberdeenshire to provide their input to a major study on depression.

The Aberdeen University team is among five universities in the UK and two in India who are examining the impact of depression in rural areas.

One aspect being looked at closely is whether mobile phone technology could be used to help in the treatment and management of the illness.

TRUMP (Trusted Mobile Platform for the self-management of chronic illness in rural areas) is a large, collaborative study between the universities that aims to address the issue.

It brings together several disciplines and methodologies, including computer science, psychiatry, design and anthropology.

As part of the development researchers in the North-east want to run a series of workshops with people who have suffered or are suffering from depression.

The first of these will be held in Kintore on Thursday, May 1, and a follow up about a month later.

Dr Grit Scheffler, a researcher in mental health at Aberdeen University, said: “The findings from the workshops will provide very useful information on people’s priorities, what is valued and what needs to be avoided.

“This will be used to inform the next stage of this programme of work where computer-scientists will lead the creation of a mobile phone platform.

“The researchers would be very happy to hear from people in particular, if they are currently suffering from, or have suffered from depression and are interested in finding new ways of supporting people who suffer from depression - helping with research, you may be able to take part in the research.”

Participants would be asked to take part in two workshops which include a range of creative activities.

The aim is to explore possibilities of how a mobile phone could be used to support individuals being treated for depression.

A follow-up workshop is planned for the following month, and arrangements can be made for a second set of workshops in Aberdeen.

Refreshments will be provided and travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Anyone interested is finding out more details about the workshops should contact Dr Scheffler on 01224 557953, or 07756 148152. She can also be reached via email at

The study website is