A new research project is taking place in Trinity College Dublin to try to understand what happens in the brains of teenage girls who experience mental health difficulties.
According to researchers, one quarter of all teenagers will experience serious mental health difficulties such as depression, and it is twice as common for it to happen in girls.
The research project aims to “understand how young people use coping strategies to deal with challenging situations”.
The researchers are looking for girls aged 13-19 who are experiencing symptoms of depression to take part in the study.
What happens during the research project?
If you agree to take part in the project you will go to the research offices in Trinity College Dublin and will be asked to answer some questionnaires about your emotions and behaviours.
You will also do a computer game that will test your coping strategies and also other skills such as memory.
The researchers need a sample of your blood and/or saliva, so that they can test to see if there’s a connection between a person’s genes, their behaviour and their mental health.
You will have your brain scanned with an MRI machine. The MRI will take pictures of the brain that show the researchers all the different parts of the brain and how those different parts work together to support thinking, feeling, and action.
The MRI scanner uses very powerful magnets, so it is very important that you don’t have any metal on or in your body (this includes braces and piercings).
What’s in it for me?
Everyone who takes part in the study will receive €20 and a MRI picture of their brain to keep.
Who can get involved?
Girls aged between 13 and 19 years old who are currently experiencing symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness and irritability, are invited to take part in the study
Due to the nature of the study, anyone currently taking anti-depressant medication, or those with metal in their body – such as braces – cannot take part.
The researchers are also looking for girls of the same age who are not experiencing mental health difficulties to get involved.
If you are between 13 and 17 years old, you will need permission from a parent to take part, and they will also have to accompany you to the research offices on the day.
If you would like to be part of the study or want more information, you can email [email protected] or call 085 833 4160.