Introducing Specialist in General Practice and Doctoral Researcher Ulla Mikkonen

Introducing Specialist in General Practice and Doctoral Researcher Ulla Mikkonen

MD Ulla Mikkonen works as a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland and acts as a general practitioner at the health center of Kuopio. Pekka Mäntyselkä, Professor of General Practice, is the principal director of the research group. The funding of the University of Eastern Finland’s shared doctoral student position system has enabled Ulla to conduct her doctoral research.

“My dissertation study examines the effects of a multicomponent, motivational lifestyle intervention on the recovery from depression, the quality of life, mental well-being and physical health of the patients diagnosed with depression in primary health care,” says Ulla. “In the region of North Savo, mental illness and the situation of those in need of services are worrying. The need for research has been identified from observations in clinical work. Previous studies indicate that lifestyle guidance might be beneficial as a supportive treatment for depression. However, the implementation of lifestyle changes may be challenging, and it is therefore necessary to examine further what kind of methods would have a real-life effectiveness in primary health care, and to study it specifically in the early stages of treatment. I hope that my research will also have an impact from a public health point of view, because depression is associated with lifestyle risk factors.” The lifestyle guidance of the study is carried out in cooperation with a local patient organization, Savon Sydänpiiri ry.

The patient recruitment of the State Research Finance (SRF) funded study started in November 2022. The objective of patient recruitment is 210 study subjects. “The practical aim of the study is to develop the treatment of depression in primary health care”, concludes Ulla.


DEPKuopio Research Group:

Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition:

UEF’s shared doctoral student position system gets launched (UEF 5.11.2020):

Kuopio Brain & Mind is part of a nation-wide Neurocenter Finland researcher network. For more information, please visit