MSc Placement: Becca Watson

My main MSc placement role was to conduct semi-structured diagnostic interviews with teenagers, and their parents, to assess and understand their current mood problems. This role helped me to develop my clinical skills, giving me the opportunity to talk to young people and their parents about a range of difficulties, and to consider the impact these challenges were having on the young person’s life. Team work was particularly important during this placement, as I had to liaise with clinicians and work closely with my fellow placement students to ensure the assessments ran smoothly and that any sensitive information was collected and stored appropriately.

Alongside my placement, I also completed my MSc empirical project in the AnDY team, working closely with Shirley Reynolds and Laura Pass to develop a new self-report measure of anhedonia (loss of interest and pleasure). This experience gave me the opportunity to be involved in Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) events, where I asked young people to discuss and think about the activities and experiences they find rewarding. This input was invaluable in ensuring that my research reflected adolescents’ current interests. My research project also gave me the opportunity to collect data in a school, which helped me to develop my confidence in talking about my research and in liaising with other professionals.

My involvement with AnDY during my placement year was instrumental in my decision to apply for a PhD at the University of Reading. It reinforced my interest in clinical research, and highlighted my particular passion to improve our understanding and treatment of adolescent depression.