How To Help

Depression and Anxiety Affect One in Five Americans

One out of five Americans will develop depression or an anxiety disorder in his or her lifetime. The consequences are significant; as many as 50 percent of individuals suffering from depression do not respond to available treatments. Depression accounts for 60 percent of completed suicides worldwide. The cost of depression on society is staggering – in 2000, the economic burden of depression in the US exceeded $83 billion.


Hope for People Suffering with Depression and Anxiety

Recent breakthroughs in genetics and neuroscience have provided experts with unprecedented access to the genetic and neural architecture of the human mind. These new advances could revolutionize the understanding of depression and anxiety disorders, leading to improved outcomes for patients.


What’s Being Done to Prevent and Treat Depression?

McLean Hospital established the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research (CDASR) in July 2010. Using an interdisciplinary approach, investigators are working to uncover the biological, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to depression and anxiety disorders and develop novel treatment and prevention strategies. Currently, CDASR investigators are pursuing research that may determine whether:

  • Neuroimaging techniques can guide treatment selection for depression, leading to improvements in efficacy, speed of symptom reduction and cost-effectiveness.
  • Genetic variants can be identified that reliably indicate increased risk for depression and related disorders, particularly in interactions with environmental stressors.
  • The psychological and neurobiological consequences of childhood trauma (e.g., neglect and maltreatment, which have been linked to a five-fold increase in rates of adult depression) can be prevented, leading to a reduced likelihood of future mental illness.
  • Psychological and neurobiological signatures of resilience can be identified to characterize individuals who face severe adversity but do not develop mental illness.
  • More effective psychological treatments for childhood and adolescent depression can be designed by incorporating the wide range of cognitive, interpersonal and environmental variables that may render certain children especially vulnerable to depression.
  • Neural networks (computer simulations) can be developed to explain increased risk for mental illness as a function of impaired communication between brain cells.


How You Can Help

Research is a vital component of McLean’s tripartite mission, together with compassionate clinical care and education. McLean Hospital is fundamentally dedicated to improving the lives of those with psychiatric illness and their families. In this context, the translation of scientific discovery into improved care provides among our greatest hopes for the future. McLean’s research program is the largest of any private psychiatric hospital worldwide, with ~$40 million per year devoted to these activities, of which ~75% is from federal sources.

As a non-profit organization, external support – through federal grants, industry, and foundations as well as private gifts – is vital to our ability to sustain a robust and innovative psychiatric research program. We are making extraordinary advances in psychiatric research each day. It is ironic that at a time when the science has never been more exciting and promising, economic factors have constrained and threatened the pace of progress in the field.  Nevertheless, we remain fully committed to conducting research that will improve the lives of our patients and their families and thanks to the full range of resources available, including the generosity of philanthropic individuals, we are able to continue this important work on a large scale. We are thankful to all of our friends and supporters who believe in McLean and its precious mission.

For information on how you can support the CDASR’s research mission, please contact the center director, Dr. Diego Pizzagalli, at (617) 855-4230, or make a gift online now. When donating online, please select “Other” in the Designation box and then enter “Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research.”