Online peer support for preventing comorbid depression in people with long-term conditions

The aim of this study is to co-produce an online psychoeducation and peer support platform for people living with a long-term physical health condition experiencing subthreshold depression, with a view to intervening early and preventing development of comorbid major depression in this at-risk population.

Qualitative work with people with long term health problems and subthreshold depression will explore patients’ experiences and support needs. Over a series of workshops, a Participatory Design Panel comprised of key stakeholders will utilise these findings and existing evidence to formulate a theory of change for the intervention’s impacts and mechanisms. The panel will then translate the theory of change into practical intervention components, including content, design features and a peer moderation strategy.

We will undertake usability testing using Think Aloud techniques in which participants will be encouraged to articulate their thoughts as they engage with the webpages. The final phase of this project will be to co-design a feasibility study to evaluate the acceptability of the platform and the feasibility of a full-scale randomised controlled trial.