Accessibility statement

David Ekers
Honorary Visiting Professor



David is a nurse leader with over 30 years experience in mental health. For the past 15 years he has have operated as a senior Nurse Consultant in Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS FT combining clinical, research and leadership roles. David has a strong commitment and passion for improving the access of people to psychological interventions for common mental health disorders. He has been an accredited Cognitive Behavioural therapist since 1997 and led large teams of therapists in both Southampton and the County Durham. His current clinical role combines the delivery of evidence based interventions with teaching and supervision of other health professionals.

Alongside clinical leadership David has developed a research portfolio aimed at testing new innovative approaches to improving access to high quality psychological interventions. This has established his reputation as a nurse who is a leader in research, signified by his contribution to a number of national policy and guidance committees for the Department of Health and NICE. David is the Mental Health Speciality Lead for the Clinical Research Network in the North East and North Cumbria.

David is recognised internationally as an expert on Behavioural Activation for Depression. Behavioural Activation (BA) is a psychological approach attracting considerable attention due to its potential for cost effective dissemination. His research is highly cited both within the UK and internationally and has led the way in developing the evidence base to support such dissemination. He was the chief investigator of an initial proof of principle randomised controlled trial that was the first to investigate the delivery of BA by non specialist therapists. That study directly informed the design of three large multi centre NIHR HTA funded studies. Findings of these studies are now published in high impact journals and are informing NICE guidance and clinical practice. David is the Chief Investigator of the Community Pharmacy Mood Intervention Study, funded by the NIHR PHR. This is a study breaking new ground in mental health promotion in the important area of depression prevention in people with long term health conditions.


  • PhD – Health Sciences;  University of York 
  • MSc – Research Methods in Health; University of Southampton 
  • Diploma – Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy / ENB 650; Kings College London / Maudsley Hospital London
  • Registered Mental Health Nurse (RMN); Bethlem & Maudsley School of Nursing 




David currently focuses on primary care mental health research at University of York. In particular his interest is improving access to psychological treatments of anxiety and depression.


  • CASPER (Collaborative cAre in Screen Positive EldeRs)
  • CHEMIST (Community pHarmaciEs Mood intervention STudy)
  • MODS (Multi-morbidity in Older adults with Depression Study)

Research group(s)



  • PhD supervision at University of York and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Other teaching

  • Service based training in accessible psychological  interventions for common mental health problems

External activities


  • Accredited Member – Psychotherapist (Supervision Trained)  British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapists.
  • Member -  NIHR HTA Funding Advisory panel
  • Member -  Newcastle and North Tyneside 1 NHS Research Ethics Committee
  • Member - NICE Guideline Development Group – Depression in Adults 

Invited talks and conferences

  • World Congress of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy. (2016). Cost and Outcome of Behavioural Activation. Funded international presentation for study results dissemination
  • Behavioural Activation for Psychiatric Nurses. (2015). Invited Presentation to Australian Congress of Mental Health Nurses
  • Invited Discussant. ‘Do we need address cognitions in psychological interventions?’ (2015). British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
  • Chair and convener Primary Care Mental Health Conference. (2015)
  • Chair and discussant for Keynote by Derek Hopko ‘Third Wave CBT for Depression’. BABCP conference (2014)
  • Keynote presentation ‘Nurses and research’ (2014). Network for Psychiatric Nurse Research conference (2014)

Media coverage

  • Twitter: david ekers @ DavidEkers

Contact details

Professor David Ekers
Honorary Visiting Professor



Full publications list

  • Richards DA, Rhodes S, Ekers D, McMillan D, Taylor RS, Byford S, et al. Cost and Outcome of BehaviouRal Activation (COBRA): a randomised controlled trial of behavioural activation versus cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. Health Technol Assess 2017;21(46)
  • Finning,K ,. Richards, D,. Moore, L,. Ekers, D,. McMillan,D,. Farrand,P,. O'Mahen, H,. Watkins, E,. Wright, K,. Fletcher,E,. Rhodes, E,. Woodhouse,R, and  Wray,F. (2017). Cost and outcome of behavioural activation versus cognitive behavioural therapy for depression (COBRA): a qualitative process evaluation. BMJ Open. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014161
  • Gilbody,. S, Lewis, H., Adamson J., Atherton, K., Bailey, D., Birstwistle, J., Bosanquet, K., Clare, E., Delgadillo, J., Ekers, D., Foster, D., Gabe, R., Gascoyne, S., Haley, L., Hamilton, J., Hargate, R., Hewitt, C., Holmes, J., Keding, A., Lilley-Kelly, A., Meer, S., Mitchell, N., Overend, K., Pasterfield, M., Pervin, J., Richards, D., Spilsbury, K., Traviss-Turner, G., Trepel, D., Woodhouse, R., Ziegler, F., & McMillan, D. (2017). Effect of collaborative care vs. usual care on depressive symptoms in older adults with subthreshold depression: The CASPER Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 317, 728-737
  • Lewis H, Adamson J, Atherton K, Bailey D, Birtwistle J, Bosanquet K, Clare E, Delgadillo J, Ekers D, Foster D, Gabe R, Gascoyne S, Haley L, Hargate R, Hewitt C, Holmes J, Keding A, Lilley-Kelly A, Maya J, McMillan D, Meer S, Meredith J, Mitchell N, Nutbrown S, Overend K, Pasterfield M, Richards D, Spilsbury K, Torgerson D, Traviss-Turner G, Trépel D, Woodhouse R, Ziegler F & Gilbody S.. CollAborative care and active surveillance for Screen-Positive EldeRs with subthreshold depression (CASPER): a multicentred randomised controlled trial of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Health Technol Assess 2017;21(8)
  • Richards DA, Ekers D, McMillan D, Taylor RS, Byford S, Warren FC, Barrett B, Farrand PA, Gilbody S, Kuyken W, O’Mahen H, Watkins ER, Wright KA, Hollon SD, Reed N, Rhodes S, Fletcher E, Finning K (2016)Cost and Outcome of Behavioural Activation versus Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression (COBRA): a randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial.  The Lancet, 388, 10047, 27 August–2 September 2016, 871–880
  • Webster, L. Ekers, D and Chew Graham, C. (2016). Feasibility of training practice nurses to deliver a psychosocial intervention within a collaborative care framework for people with depression and long-term conditions. BMC Nursing. 15:71.  DOI 10.1186/s12912-016-0190-2
  • Hardy, S,.  Al Shamari, B,. Al Matawa, M,. Mathias, J,. Ekers, D,. Gellatly, J,. Figgins, N,. And Grey, R. (2015). Can Behavioural Activation Be Used As An Alternative Treatment For Subthreshold Depression In Type 2 Diabetes?  Mental Health in Family Medicine. 11. 49-52
  • Delgadillo, J,. Gore S,. Ali, S,. Ekers, D,. Gilbody, S,.Gilchrist, G,. McMillan, D,. Hughes, E,. (2015). Feasibility randomized controlled trial of cognitive and behavioral interventions for depression symptoms in patients accessing drug and alcohol treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 55. 6-14
  • Bosanquet, K. Mitchell, N. Gabe, R. Lewis, H. McMillan, D. Ekers, D. Bailey, D and Gilbody, S. (2015)  Diagnostic accuracy of the Whooley depression tool in older adults in UK primary care. Journal of Affective Disorders. 182 39–43
  • Masterson, C. Ekers, D.Gilbody, S. Richards, D. Toner-Clewes, B. and McMillan, D. (2014). Sudden gains in behavioural activation for depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 60. 34-38
  • Ekers D, Webster L, Cuijpers P, Van Straten A, Richards D and Gilbody S. (2014). Behavioural activation for depression; an update of meta-analysis of effectiveness and sub group analysis. PLoS ONE. 9(6): e100100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100100
  • Murphy, R. Ekers, D and Webster, L. (2014). An update to depression case management by practice nurses in primary care: a service evaluation. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12153
  • Rhodes, R. Richards, D. Ekers, D. McMillan, D. Byford, S. Farrand, P. Gilbody, S. Kuyken, W. Martell, C. O’Mahen, H. O’Neill, E. Reed, N. Taylor, R. Watkins, E. and Wright, K. (2014).  Cost and outcome of behavioural activation versus cognitive behaviour therapy for depression (COBRA): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 2014, 15:29
  • Ekers D, and Webster L. (2013) An overview of the effectiveness of psychological therapy for depression and stepped care service delivery models Journal of Research in Nursing. 18(2) 171–184
  • Ekers, D. Murphy, R. Archer, J. Ebenezer, C. Kemp, D. Gilbody S. (2013) Nurse-delivered collaborative care for depression and long-term physical conditions: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders. 149. 14-22
  • Ekers D, Dawson, M and Bailey, L. (2012).Dissemination of Behavioural Activation for depression to mental health nurses. Training evaluation and benchmarked clinical outcomes. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.  20 186-192
  • Ekers D, Godfrey C, Gilbody S, Parrott S, Richards D, Hammond D and Hayes A. (2011). Cost utility of Behavioural Activation delivered by the non-specialist. British journal of psychiatry.199. 510-511
  • Mitchell, N., Hewitt, C., Adamson, J., Parrott, S. Torgerson, D., Ekers, D., Holmes, J., Lester, H., McMillan, D., Richards D., Spilsbury, K., Godfrey, C & Gilbody, S. (2011). A randomised evaluation of CollAborative care and active surveillance for Screen-Positive EldeRs with sub-threshold depression (CASPER): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 12: 225.
  • Ekers D, Richards D, McMillan D, Bland M, Gilbody S. (2011) Behavioural Activation delivered by the non specialist: phase II randomised controlled trial. British journal of psychiatry; 198(1): 66-72
  • Houghton S, Curran J and Ekers D. (2011). Behavioural Activation in the treatment of depression.  Mental health practice. 14 (7).18-23
  • Ekers, D Richards, D and Gilbody S. (2008). A Meta Analysis of Randomised Trials of Behavioural Treatment of Depression. Psychological Medicine. 38(5) 611-623
  • Ekers, D and Wilson, W. (2008). Depression case management in primary care by practice nurses: an audit. Mental Health in Family Medicine. 5(2) 111-119
  • Gamble C, Ekers D and Callaghan P. (2008). Nurse consultants and the research community. Mental Health Practice. 11(10) 32-35
  • Ekers, D & Richards, D. (2007). Anxiety and Depression in Primary Care. Primary Health Care. 17 (4). 36-39
  • Ekers D, Richards D, Grant H. (2007). Developing depression management in primary care. Primary Health Care. 17(8): 31-33
  • Ekers, D. Lovell, K. & Payle, J. (2007). The use of CBT based, brief, facilitated self-help interventions in primary care mental health service provision: Evaluation of a 10-day training programme. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing. 9S1, e88–e96
  • Ekers D, Preston J. Depression Case Management In Practice. Its Role and Development in a Stepped Care System. (2006). Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry. 10(7):31-6
  • Ekers D & Fletcher, J. (2005). Learning About Depression care management from Health Maintenance Organisations in the USA. Journal of Mental Health Nursing .  25 (2). 16-19
  • Lovell, K. Ekers, D. Fulford, A & Bagley, (2004). C. Pilot of Self-Help Manual  & Short Appointments in The Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Specialist CBT Services. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing. 8. 122-127
  • Ekers. D. Schlich. T. & Carmen. S. (2004). Successful Outcome of Exposure and Response Prevention in the Treatment of  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in A Patient with Schizophrenia. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 32. 375-378
  • Ekers, D. & Kingdon, D. (2003). Can Cognitive behavioural Psychotherapy Assist Adherence to fluid Restriction with Dialysis Patients: A case series. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing.  7. 15-17
  • Ekers D, Lovell K & Richards D. (2002). Treatment for agoraphobia with a self-help treatment manual and telephone guidance: A Case Study. Journal of Mental Health Nursing 22 (3) 18-21 

Book Chapters

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