Manchester is brimming with street art and the Northern Quarter, playground of the hip crowd, has probably attracted more than any part of the city.
I took a walking tour with award-winning local expert Hayley Flynn AKA Skyliner. I learned more about the street art I had seen and was guided to pieces I would have missed on my own.
Hayley’s knowledge of the history of the Northern Quarter was extensive, giving us background on each artist and work.
Delivered with great humour and a true passion for our burgeoning city of Manchester.
These days we can find our tendency to look down at our phones means that we miss the beauty and spectacle in our own surrounding. So, using my mobile purely for its camera function I set off on a mini adventure.
If we measured their depression with a test that doctors use, before and after working their way through the book (which takes 30 days) would we see a difference?
The test we used, called the PHQ-9 – the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire) – produces a score between 0 and 27, with 0 meaning no depression, and 27 representing the most severe depression possible.
The score range is divided into five bands that, apart from the highest division, are drawn at five-point intervals.
Healthcare professionals use the PHQ-9 to help decide, in part, what treatment – such as antidepressants or psychotherapy / counselling might best help a patient.
They also ask patients to complete the test as one way of determining whether or not a chosen treatment is working.
When the PHQ-9 is used to measure progress, the rule of thumb is that a reduction in score of 5 points or more over a period of 4-6 weeks means the current treatment regime is working, and should therefore be continued.
We asked 51 people to use the book for 30 days, completing the PHQ-9 before they started, and again when they’d finished.
The participants were a randomly chosen subset of readers of the Moodnudges blog who weren’t pre-selected on the basis of being depressed, so the sample included a range of individuals from those who had only the most minimal depression to others who were experiencing moderately severe depression.
The results, which can be seen in graph form, show two important findings:1. Across the board, the average reduction in PHQ-9 score over 30 days was 5.3, suggesting that using Nudge Your Way to Happiness can be as clinically effective as antidepressants or psychotherapy.
2. The greatest reductions in score were seen in those who were most depressed to start with. On average these participants’ scores fell from a level definitely placing them in the Moderately Severe category to one at the very lowest end of the Moderate division: only a whisker away from being labelled Mild.
Future work could involve working with a larger sample, and structuring the study as a randomized controlled trial. But these early results do seem promising.”