The Round-Up – March 2022

We’ve seen a glimpse of gloriously sunny days and lost an hour’s sleep. That can only mean one thing: spring is here! Now it’s time to hear what the UKRI mental health networks have been up to in March.

Before you get the latest from the networks, we’d like to plug a great opportunity to join the Why Mental Health Research Matters Steering Group. If you’re connected to the eight UKRI mental health networks and would like to shape a national conversation about mental health research, join our steering group! Use your personal and/or professional experience of mental health to help make the case for mental health research. 

We’re delighted to have so many applications so far, but we’re keen to hear from more people from VAMHN, TRIUMPH, Closing the Gap and MARCH network. Find out more here.

Join the Why Mental Health Research Matters steering group
and shape a national conversation


The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Tackling Loneliness Evidence Group has released a review on loneliness. It looks at what we know about loneliness, as well as the evidence gaps. The authors are all members of the Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network (LSIMHRN).  A massive done to everyone involved! Read the report here.


Are you an early career researcher? Are you looking to develop your professional networks, skills and experience? If so, apply for the GROW network, from the Mental Health Research Incubator. This fully-funded programme gives you a chance to join a supportive community of early career researchers, learn career-boosting skills, network, access 1-2-1 coaching and workshops. Apply for this amazing opportunity by the 26th of April.

Final call for eNurture funding!

eNurture’s final funding call will close on Thursday 31st March. The team are looking to fund research in the following thematic areas:

  • A Focus on Families: The Digital World
  • A Focus on Schools/Peers: The Digital World
  • New Practice Models: Families and Schools
  • Policy, Legal and Regulatory Frameworks

If you’ve got a great research idea that meets one of these themes, act now to catch that deadline.

Final showcase symposium 10am-5pm on 15th June 2022 - Lonelines and social isolation in mental health research network
Call for abstract submissions!

A date for your diary: Loneliness & Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network (LSIMHRN) Showcase symposium on the 15th of June 2022.

Have you been researching loneliness and social isolation in mental health? If so the LSIMHRN team want you to create a 10-minute presentation at the network’s showcase symposium. They’re especially for abstracts from early-career researchers and/or lived experience researchers.

If giving a live presentation isn’t your cup of tea or you can’t make the event live, then how about recording a 3-5 minute abstract video? These will be shared on the Mental Elf YouTube channel.

The deadline is the 4th of April, and you can find more information and how to submit your abstract here

VAMHN forum

The Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network (VAMHN) has launched its forum this month. This is a space for VAMHN members to connect and collaborate online together. A great tool to pave the way for more high-quality interdisciplinary research into this important mental health topic! 

Dates for your diary

On Tuesday 29th March 10 am-11 am SMaRteN will host the next session for its PhD Student Mental Health Special Interest Group. Hear from Hope Williard from the University of Lincoln on ‘Supporting Development of Digital Literacies Among Doctoral Students in History’

Hope will introduce her upcoming project on PhD students’ development of digital research skills – a fundamental part of PhD research! Hope’s work will explore some of the ongoing issues, such as assumptions about students’ digital skills by supervisors and learning support staff, and students’ own self-assessment and understanding of these skills.  Email to attend this and/or future sessions.

The next Emerging Minds Open Lab is Evidence Into Practice: Improving Implementation of Children and Young People’s Mental Health Research. Hear from Dr Holly Bear from the University of Oxford and Professor Johnathan Parker from the University of Exeter and CEDAR. Registration is opening soon. Reserve your ticket here, and while you’re at it you can also check out their previous Open Labs, such as the recent Live music gigs and concerts: a ‘staged’ approach to mental wellbeing for children and young people.

Catch eNurture‘s Professor Gordon Harold at Promoting positive mental health at a time of mental health crisis on Saturday 2nd of April. Gordon will lead the event, which is all about how we can work together to improve positive mental health and reduce negative mental health outcomes.

Past Events

Did you miss VAMHN’s event on non-academic career pathways for researchers? Luckily, you can catch the recording online here. If you’re looking for career inspiration, check out the webinar and hear from:

  • Dr Eloise Crush, Research Director, Positive Group
  • Dr Dan Robotham, Deputy Research Director, The McPin Foundation
  • Dr Stephanie Smith, Senior Advisor, Centre for Evidence and Implementation
  • Dr Minh Dang, Executive Director, Survivor Alliance​

Recently published studies

a pair of glasses rest on a notebook

Neighbourhood characteristics and social isolation of people with psychosis: a multi-site cross-sectional study is one of the most recent published studies from LSIMHN.  The researchers surveyed 511 people living with psychotic illnesses and asked them about the number of social interactions they had during the previous week, as well as their satisfaction with their friendships. They found that people living with psychosis in urban areas were more isolated when living in more densely populated areas.

Another paper from the LSIMHN network was published this month. The experience of loneliness among people with a “personality disorder” diagnosis or traits: a qualitative meta-synthesis. Their analysis suggested early traumatic and alienating experiences could lead to feelings of loneliness, and loneliness could exacerbate “personality disorder” symptoms for people struggling with these feelings.

Useful resources

A new report led by TRIUMPH-funded researcher Dr Rhiannon Edwards presents the views and experiences of online mental health and well-being provision for young people, carers, and health and social care professionals in Wales during the pandemic.

The report found online interventions offered mental health and well-being support to young people and care-experienced children, but some young people reported barriers including lack of privacy, accessibility and the format of the online interactions. Read the report here, including recommendations for future practice.

In 2020, researchers from the LSIMHRN and the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit at UCL and King’s College London, including peer researchers with relevant lived experience, interviewed 59 people to better understand what it is like to be lonely or socially isolated if you also struggle with your mental health. As part of the interviews, they asked people what, if anything, helped them feel less lonely. 

The team co-produced a booklet to share their insights. You can download the booklet here and read more about the research study here. You can also read a pre-print of the associated research paper ‘Exploring the experiences of loneliness in adults with mental health problems: a  participatory qualitative interview study’.

The CoRAY team, from Emerging Minds, have developed some fantastic infographics for young people. They worked with designers from the University of Reading and created resources for the following areas:

  • Managing Change & Uncertainty
  • Feeling Lonely, Isolated & Disconnected
  • Feeling Bored, Flat & Unmotivated
  • Seeking Help for Mental Health 
  • Feeling Anxious around Social Situations

A Manifesto for Change is a new resource to help prevent suicide in LGBTQIA+ young people in Scotland based on original research from TRIUMPH-funded researcher Dr Hazel Marzetti. The report outlines short and longer-term changes to prevent suicide in LGBTQIA+ young people.

Closing The Gap’s special interest group on oral care recently released a consensus statement on oral care for people with severe mental illness (SMI). People living with a severe mental illness are more likely to have poor oral health compared to the general population. This statement sets out a five-year strategy for improving oral care for people with SMI.

Something to read

Have you caught eNurture’s grant holder blog series yet? Their latest blog post is from Dr Angeliki Bogosian and Dr Jennie Brown from their Delphi study with young people, families and professionals. Their work explores the potential for digital technology to support the well-being of young people with long-term conditions. They’re currently looking for research participants aged 10-18, as well as an advisory panel of young people and parents. Read more about their work here.

To mark two years since the first UK lockdown, Closing The Gap shared a visual representation of the effects of the lockdowns on people with severe mental illness. This was part of the findings from the network’s OWLS Study.

C&P from LSIMHRN newsletter:

Dr James Duggan from Manchester Metropolitan University has written a new blog about his LSIMHRN Plus Project ‘Left on Read’. His work was was about co-producing creative encounters to help young people explore loneliness, isolation and mental health problems.

Something to watch

Closing The Gap has shared another fantastic episode of the Research Sofa. This time, you can hear from Dr Peter Coventry & Prof Piran White as they discuss how people with severe mental illness interact with and benefit from nature, green spaces and blue spaces such as rivers. This is a fascinating episode and not to be missed!

It’s Not That Deep is a new dramatised video series from the CoRAY project for Emerging Minds. This short video series from Fully Focused Productions looks at loneliness and cyberbullying in young people – highly topical for the upcoming mental health awareness week theme. 

Something to listen to

SMaRteN has launched its student-led podcast series, Keeping Students in Mind: Understanding Student Mental Health Research, in collaboration with All Things Mental Health.

In each episode, student hosts have insightful and accessible conversations with SMaRteN researchers about their work. The podcast explores the topics students have identified as important to them, such as students with caring responsibilities and the links between the NHS and university mental health services.

Listen now online and follow @networksmarten on Twitter and Instagram for more updates.

That’s it for the month – another bumper month of activity from the mental health research networks. Keep up the great work everyone!