• University of York
New

Introduction to Behavioural Activation for Depression

Discover behavioural activation and how it can be used to help depression by stimulating our interest in day-to-day activities.

Introduction to Behavioural Activation for Depression
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
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Develop knowledge about depression and how activity can ‘make or break’ our mood

With an increased awareness and understanding of mental health, more and more people are seeking to learn about effective ways to improve depression or low mood.

This three-week course will introduce you to some of the key principles and practices of behavioural activation. You will explore how this approach has been shown to be successful in reducing levels of depression in a wide range of people in a wide variety of situations.

Harness the power of behavioural activation for better mental health

Behavioural activation is based on one key principle: that scheduling and completing meaningful, purposeful, and rewarding activities can lift our mood, energise us, and stimulate our interest and pleasure in day-to-day life. The approach is efficient, easy to learn, and works across different age ranges, depression severity levels, and cultures.

You’ll be able to relate the knowledge you will gain throughout the course to both your own life and to your interactions with others.

Explore lean and powerful techniques for the treatment of depression

On this course, you will explore techniques associated with behavioural activation. These include learning to recognise the behavioural traps that perpetuate depression and how to build up the confidence and motivation to achieve goals aligned to personal values.

Learn about depression and behavioural activation with leading experts

The University of York is a renowned institution in the study and application of behavioural activation as therapeutic intervention for depression. The senior developers of this course also have over 20 years’ experience in mental health services and education. By completing the course, you will gain knowledge and insights into how experts treat depression with behavioural activation.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds According to the World Health Organisation, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the overall burden of illness around the globe. Persistently low mood or irritability, and loss of interest or pleasure in day-to-day life, are two key symptoms of depression. As a result, a person who is depressed may struggle to carry on with day-to-day activities that give their life meaning, purpose and a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. Behavioural Activation is a psychological treatment

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds for depression based on one key principle: that scheduling and completing meaningful, purposeful and rewarding activities can lift our mood, energise us, and stimulate our interest and pleasure in day-to-day life, thereby combating depression. In this course, we will start off by looking at the nature of depression, how the condition differs from normal fluctuations in mood and what causes, maintains or exacerbates depression. We will ask you to think about your own encounters with depression, whether this is from personal experience or through supporting a family member, a friend, a neighbour or a colleague. We will then look at the relationship between depression (how we feel) and activity (what we do - or avoid doing – in response to how we feel).

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds Finally, we will describe how Behavioural Activation works and how it can be applied, with the help of fictional case examples that reflect typical experiences of depression. Join us and discover how behavioural activation can transform our efforts to combat depression.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    An introduction to depression

    • Introduction

      An introduction to the course objectives and a chance to think about how you will learn. There is a welcome video from the lead educator and also an opportunity to introduce yourself and meet fellow learners for the first time.

    • Understanding depression

      Looking at how depression differs from normal variation in mood, what are the risk factors for depression, how it is diagnosed and screened for in the population; also the prevalance of depression in the population.

    • Common treatments for depression

      Introducing the various common treatments for depression, how they work, and how effective they tend to be and what are the procs and cons of using them

    • Wrapping up this week

      A summary of what has been covered this week, a quiz relating to this, an invitation to contribute reflections to the discussion board, plus links to further relevant resources

  • Week 2

    The relationship between depression and behaviour

    • Introduction

      A look at what will be covered this week

    • Understanding our behaviour

      Understanding how our behaviour can be analysed in terms of what triggers it, what we decide to do in response and the consequences of this, both short-term and longer-term

    • Understanding the role of behaviour in depression

      Increasing understanding of why depressed people tend to behave in certain ways, including how a vicious cycle of avoidance and low mood can persist

    • Wrapping up this week

      A summary of what has been covered this week, a quiz relating to this, an invitation to contribute reflections to the discussion board, plus links to further relevant resources

  • Week 3

    Behavioural activation for depression

    • Introduction

      A look at what will be covered in this final week

    • Unlocking behavioural activation

      Exploring the four key components of behavioural activation and how they can be put into practice

    • The evidence base

      Looking at the evidence for the value of behavioural activation

    • Wrapping up this week

      A summary of what has been covered this week, a quiz relating to this, an invitation to contribute reflections to the discussion board.

    • Wrapping up the whole course

      A summary of the main take-home messages from the entire course

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the key features of depression and it can recognised and treated
  • Explain what behavioural activation is and how it works to target specific features of depression
  • Apply the basic principles of behavioural activation to case scenarios that represent people’s experiences of depression
  • Identify the evidence in using behavioural activation for different age ranges and cultures

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in helping others with brief psychological interventions. Members of the public, educators, mental health and social care professionals, and community workers will all find it beneficial.

Who will you learn with?

Lina Gega is Professor of Mental Health at the University of York and a Nurse Consultant in Psychological Therapies. She leads research in digital interventions and child and adolescent mental health.

Philip is a Project Manager in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, he is committed to engaging the public and patients with new research in the area of mental health.

Karen is a PhD student in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, her research focuses on widening access to mental health care in low-and-middle-income countries

Najma is Professor of Psychiatry at Hull York Medical School, University of York; and Consultant Psychiatrist at Bradford District Care NHS Trust.
Her research focuses on mental and physical health.

Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.

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