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School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Staff Members

Dr David Ekers, RMN ENB 650 (Dip CBT) MSc PhD

Clinical Senior Lecturer - Psychological Interventions in the Mental Health Research Group
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 40838
Room number: E111, Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Queen's Campus, Stockton on Tees, TS17 6BH

(email at


Dr David Ekers has worked in inpatient settings both in London, North Devon and Australia. Whilst in Australia he worked in a community extended hours and crisis team in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. On return to the UK in the mid 1990’s David worked as a community psychiatric nurse in Kent. This led him to see the difficulties common mental health problems pose in primary care settings due to the prevalence of these conditions and lack of evidence based talking therapies. This led David to earn a funded studentship on the prestigious ENB 650 (Dip in Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy) training led by Professor Isaac Marks at the Maudsley Hospital. Following this 18 month full time course David commenced employment as a clinical nurse specialist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Southampton Hampshire. Also at this time David commenced a MSc in research methodology at Southampton University. It was at this point his research developed mainly exploring issues relating to improving access to talking treatments. David became becoming the CBT nurse lead in April 2000 before moving to County Durham in June 2002 to take up a role as Consultant Nurse in Primary Care Mental Health. David continued to pursue interests in the dissemination of CBT interventions and was part of a number of national work streams for the Department of Health that led to the development of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service across the UK. David’s became the Clinical Lead for ‘Talking Changes’ IAPT service in Co Durham and Darlington. During this time David completed hi PhD exploring the effectiveness and dissemination of Behavioural Activation for Depression. He now works with the Mental Health Research Centre at Durham University being the local principal investigator on a number of multicenter randomised controlled trials that aim to improve the access of talking treatments for common mental health problems.

Research interests:
David currently focuses on primary care mental health research at Durham University Mental Health Research Centre. In particular his interest is improving access to psychological treatments of anxiety and depression.

Current research projects:
Co investigator on NIHR HTA funded multi centre RCT: Collaborative care for screen positive elders: the CASPER Trial.
Chief Investigator Professor Simon Gilbody, University of York, David is PI for the Durham site of this research.
Co investigator on NIHR HTA funded multi centre RCT: Cost and Outcome of Behavioural Activation (COBRA). Chief investigator Professor David Richards University of Exeter, David is PI for the Durham site.

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Curran, J., Ekers, D., McMillan, D. & Houghton, S. (2012). Behavioural Activation. In Cognitive Behaviour Therapies. Dryden, W. Sage.
  • Ekers, D. (2010). Training depression case managers. In Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Interventions. Bennet-Levy, J., Richards, D., Christensen, C., Farrand, P., Griffiths, K., Kavanagh, D., Klein, B., Proudfoot, J., Lau, M. A., Ritterband, L., White, J. & Williams, C. Oxford University Press. 427-436.
  • Ekers, D. & Ricketts, T. (2008). Primary Care. In Mental Health from Policy to Practice. Brooker, C. & Repper, J. Elsevier.

Journal Article

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Research Groups