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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Defeat Depression

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About Defeat Depression

The Defeat Depression Campaign was a five-year national campaign launched in January 1992 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in association with the Royal College of General Practitioners.
The campaign had three broad aims:
  • To educate health professionals, particularly general practitioners, about recognition and management of depression.
  • To educate the general public about depression and the availability of treatment, in order to encourage people to seek help earlier.
  • To reduce the stigma associated with depression.
In order to take these activities forward, the Campaign
established two major committees:
  • The Management Committee, chaired by Professor Robin Priest, which had a broad membership, including psychiatrists and general practitioners and representatives of psychology, social work, nursing, carer and user organisations. This group overviewed the general running of the campaign and undertook the public education work and studies of public attitudes.
  • The Scientific Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Eugene Paykel, provided overall scientific advice and was responsible for evaluating the campaign.


Leaflets produced for the series

The campaign emphasized that depression is common, recognizable and treatable.
A number of leaflets were produced for the series. Please click on the leaflet most appropriate to you.



The Defeat Depression Campaign continued until the end of 1996 and the results of its many successes are outlined in the list of publications below.
  • 'Impact of a national campaign on GP education: an evaluation of the Defeat Depression Campaign'
  • S Rix, ES Paykel, P Lelliott, A Tylee, P Freeling, L Gask & D Hart, 1999, British Journal of General Practice, 99-102.
  • 'The Defeat Depression Campaign: psychiatry in the public arena'
    Paykel ES, Tylee A, Wright A, et al., 1997, American Journal of Psychiatry, 154 (Festschrift supplement), 59-65
  • 'Recognition and management of depression in general practice: consensus statement'
    Paykel E , Priest RG, BMJ, 1992, 305, 1198-1202
  • 'Recognition and management of depression in late life in general practice: consensus statement'
    Katona C, Freeling P, Hinchcliffe K et al on behalf of the Consensus Group. Primary Care Psychiatry, 1995, 1, 107-113.
  • 'Changes in public attitudes to depression during the Defeat Depression Campaign'
    Paykel ES, Hart D, Priest RG, British Journal of Psychiatry (1998), 173, 519-522
  • Graham, P. & Hughes, C. (1995) So Young, So Sad, So Listen. London: Gaskell.
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