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40,000 people urged to sign-up to the largest study of depression and anxiety

Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource are calling for 40,000 people with depression or anxiety to join the online Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study, funded by the NIHR.

By recruiting at least 40,000 people in England who have experienced either depression or anxiety at some point in their life, the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study will make important strides towards better understanding of these disorders and improving the lives of future patients. GLAD will provide a ‘pool’ of potential participants for future studies on the genetic aspects of these two conditions and reduce the time-consuming process of recruiting patients for research.

The study is led by Dr Gerome Breen, Reader of Neuropsychiatric & Translational Genetics, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, IoPPN, King’s College London and he comments:

“It’s a really exciting time to become involved in mental health research, particularly genetic research which has made incredible strides in recent years – we have so far identified 66 genetic links for depression and anxiety. By recruiting 40,000 volunteers willing to be re-contacted for research, the GLAD Study will take us further than ever before. It will allow researchers to solve the big unanswered questions, address how genes and environment act together and help develop new treatment options.”


The GLAD Study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as a collaboration between the NIHR BioResource and King’s College London, has been designed to be particularly accessible, with a view to motivating more people to take part in mental health research.

Dr Sophie Dix, Director of Research at the charity MQ, which advocates for more research into mental health conditions, is supporting the GLAD Study. She comments:

“Only through further research into the root causes of anxiety and depression can we hope to achieve the same breakthroughs that have been seen with other physical conditions. Our dream is a world where people can achieve full control of their mental health conditions, and where treatments are personalised to work for them. We encourage anyone living with depression or anxiety who shares this vision to enrol.”

Study co-lead, and anxiety expert, Professor Thalia Eley, Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, IoPPN, King’s College London comments:

“The GLAD Study is straightforward. We’re asking those who have experienced clinical anxiety or depression to complete a short survey and provide a DNA sample (from saliva). We want to hear from all different backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups and genders, and we are especially keen to hear from young adults. By including people from all parts of the population what we learn will be relevant for everyone. This is a unique opportunity to participate in pioneering medical science – we hope the public back the study and we can reach our target of 40,000 people.”


The GLAD study is open to anyone in England, aged 16 or over, who has experienced clinical anxiety and/or depression. Taking part involves just two simple steps:

  1. Register at and complete a  30 minute online questionnaire
  2. Complete and return a DNA saliva sample test, which is sent with instructions and a free return envelope

Signing up to the GLAD Study will also involve allowing access to your NHS medical records, providing important clinical data to link with other information and give a full picture of each individual. This data will be held securely (in line with new data regulations) and will only be accessed by a limited number of approved researchers. People who take part will receive updates twice-a-year about the progress of the research and online access to information on upcoming studies.

Visit to find out more. Information is also available on The GLAD Study Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. People interested in using social media to encourage friends and family to take part should use the hashtag #GLADStudy

Watch a short animation on the study online  and an interview with Professor Thalia Eley and Dr Gerome Breen 

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Notes to editors

To find out more about the GLAD Study or to arrange interviews please contact Alex Booth, Communications and Engagement Manager, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, Tel 020 7848 0495 Email and

About The NIHR BioResource

The NIHR BioResource is a large biorepository of (currently) >100,000 people with and without health problems who are willing to be approached to participate in research studies investigating the link between genes, the environment and health and disease. It is based at centres around England and is funded by the National Institute of Health Research.

The NIHR Mental Health BioResource is a branch of the NIHR BioResource, which aims to increase participation of people with mental health disorders in medical and psychological research. During the GLAD Study, participants will also be recruited into NIHR Mental Health BioResource.

About The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research. Established by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR:

  • funds high quality research to improve health
  • trains and supports health researchers
  • provides world-class research facilities
  • works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • involves patients and the public at every step.

For further information, visit the NIHR website

About King’s College London and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2017/18 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 26,500 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,900 staff. The university is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London is the premier centre for mental health and related neurosciences research in Europe. It produces more highly cited publications in psychiatry and mental health than any other university in the world (Scopus, 2016), with 12 of the most highly cited scientists in this field. World-leading research from the IoPPN has made, and continues to make, an impact on how we understand, prevent and treat mental illness and other conditions that affect the brain.