Professor Saeed Farooq, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at MPFT and Professor of Psychiatry and Public Mental Health, Keele University is co-leading a research team aiming to improve mental health in tuberculosis (TB) patients by developing a new psychological treatment.

Tuberculosis is a significant worldwide healthcare problem and is the 10th most common cause of death. Almost half of patients receiving TB medication have depression, which can increase the chances of a relapse or the disease progressing. Mental health issues can also reduce how closely a patient follows their course of treatment, leading to drug-resistant TB, a public health crisis and health security threat.

Despite this there are no evidence-based treatments for people who have depression or anxiety and TB. This is a particular problem in countries such as Pakistan, which have high numbers of TB and MDR-TB cases.

The research team co-led by Professor Saeed Farooq is working to develop and test a cognitive therapy treatment, called CONTROL, to improve the mental health of people who have TB and MDR-TB. They will also examine if it is an effective strategy for improving adherence to TB treatment plans, thereby improving public health by reducing the transmission of TB.

If successful, the research team will see how the CONTROL could be modified for other chronic conditions and enhance the capacity for implementation research in low- and middle-income countries.

The study, funded from the NIHR’s RIGHT 3 funding scheme, will have a huge impact on research and improving treatment outcomes for TB and mental health.

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