Imagine a brighter future: Development of a school-based positive imagery intervention to target anhedonia in adolescents. 

Children and Young People PhD Scholarship 2019 : Psychology Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College, London.

Supervisor: Jennifer Lau, Victoria Pile

Summary: Depression is common, distressing and costly. Depression that starts in youth is associated with worse outcomes. Yet many young people with depression face difficulties accessing treatments. This project aims to develop an intervention that encourages positive future thinking, as a way to uplift positive mood, in young people with high levels of depression. Learning how to deploy this effectively in youth could be a valuable and empowering experience. To assess how possible it is to administer our intervention, we will gather data on how many young people (their schools and parents) are willing to take part in the research, how many complete the intervention, how helpful they find it, whether they respond negatively, and areas for improvement. These data are a first necessary step for assessing whether this intervention would be acceptable and safe in this population before we can plan larger studies in the future. Consistent with the views of many young people and teachers, our intervention is designed to be easily deliverable in a school environment by a practitioner without the need for extensive clinical training. 

Research Student Student: Taryn Hutchinson  

Hi, I’m Taryn. I started my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London in October 2019, under the supervision on Dr Jennifer Lau, Dr Katherine Young and Dr Victoria Pile.

Prior to starting my PhD, I completed my MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Manchester, my PGCert for Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments (IAPT Pathway) at the University of Reading and my BSc in Psychology at the University of Exeter. During this time, I also worked as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in two Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The majority of my clinical experience has been working with young people experiencing difficulties with depression, anxiety and emotion regulation and delivering evidence-based interventions to young people and their parents. I thoroughly enjoy working with young people and am passionate about furthering the development of early-intervention support for them. From my experiences, I have seen the challenges that young people face in accessing early mental health support and the barriers they can be up against in getting treatment from more specialist services. I am therefore delighted to be a part of this project, which aims to develop a school-based intervention for anhedonia in depression, and I am thoroughly enjoying this opportunity. I would like to thank Mental Health Research UK for funding this fantastic opportunity.