The Round-Up – April 2021

Hello and welcome to the inaugural UKRI Mental Health Research Network Round-up. Thrilled to have you here.

The Round-Up logo

My name is JJ, and I joined the team here at #MentalHealthResearchMatters a little over a month ago. You’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the coming months, and I’m excited to be bringing you updates, news and content from across the UKRI networks. Before we get started, #MentalHealthResearchMatters would like to issue a warm welcome to Lynne Gilmour, the Triumph network’s new coordinator. We are looking forward to working with you Lynne!

Now without any further ado, let’s get stuck in…

Hot off the Press

‘Funding’ seems to be the word on everyone’s lips this month, as a number of networks announce new funding calls, reveal newly funded projects or publish outputs from previously funded activities.

This includes Loneliness & Social Isolation, who last week got us excited with the announcement of their final Plus Funded Projects, focusing on Interventions from a range of angles. Your author likes to think of his thumbs as having a slight green hue and therefore will be keeping a particularly close eye on Dr Carly Woods’ project relating to community gardening and loneliness. Read more about the individual projects here.

Violence & Abuse Mental Health Network (VAMHN) have launched their third and final funding call on the theme of Interventions. This follows initial funding calls of Understanding and Measurement. You can read more about these funding calls, and previously funded projects, here. VAMHN have also produced a major output – their Safe, Seen Supported report, which examines how we can reach young people and children experiencing abuse in their households. Read the full report here.

Meanwhile, Emerging Minds’ second funding call is now officially live. Voices, Power and Attitudes addresses racism in children & young people’s mental health, looking at both impacts and possible interventions. This is one of their 4 initial research challenges. Final applications must be in by the 14th of June – for more key dates, visit their website here. Emerging Minds have also issued a call for evidence with regards to mental health of 11 – 16 year olds throughout the pandemic. If you have anything which may be of interest, please click here.

Closing the Gap are publishing results from their Optimising Wellbeing in Self-Isolation study (OWLS) smoking study in BJPsych Open – keep an eye on their twitter for news of their publication (The Round-Up will add the link here once they are live). And for  a reflection on OWLS by Lauren Walker, Health Sciences Researcher with York University and Closing The Gap , click here.

“It is time for health services and society at large to keep their commitments to tackling what is essentially a health scandal”

Lauren Walker, Closing the Gap
Tangible Toys - a project founded by the eNurture network. Prototyping TANGTOYs - 3 key findings
Key Findings from TangToys –
an eNurture funded project

And as exciting as all of this is for the future of the networks, let us not forget the fantastic work which has already been done (when this blog was yet to be conceived). eNurture are helping us out here, and have recently published some fantastic infographics relating to their 2019 funded projects. 3 out of 5 funded projects have completed successfully, and their key findings are accessible and digestible, with some really novel insights coming out. You can read about TangToys below, and visit their website for further info on all of the projects.

Meanwhile, the TRIUMPH network are supporting the Thriving Learners project in Scotland, an ambitious research project to enable a better understanding of the mental health experiences and challenges faced by students in Scotland. Visit the Mental Health Scotland website here for further info.

Read / Watch / Listen / Enjoy

Speaking of the Triumph network, they are bringing us a brand new video series, sharing some of the fantastic research and projects that are going on across the UK to support youth public mental health whilst providing an opportunity to hear from young people about the issues and experiences that influence their mental health. Settle in and watch episode 1:

Meanwhile, the SMaRteN network’s Student Media team continue to put out insightful and interesting content – check out Melissa Adler’s interview with Marverine Cole, who provides a thoughtful insight into the mental health challenges affecting women of colour in higher education.

Don’t have your headphones? Not to worry, eNurture have got your covered. Read this new blog post on their website – it is a raw and oftentimes emotional glimpse into the life of a mother during lockdown, charting both the lows and the surprising highs which have come from spending the working week effectively working two jobs – regular employment and teaching:

“Throughout both lockdowns there were streams of WhatsApp messages from the parent group varying from overachievers listing the amount of schoolwork achieved each day to those of support when any of us had a wobble about not getting something or anything right”

And from a mother’s life during lockdown we move onto that of a university student’s, with SMaRteN’s Abigail Adewole speaking to Kath Caffrey from the Charlie Waller Trust regarding some tips on mental health protection for higher education students. Read the 5 tips here.

The MARCH network’s Covid-19 Social Study has spent the last year examining the psychological and social impact of the pandemic and now, one year one, they have released this fantastic video summarising their findings so far. A round up for your author to aspire to…

And whilst you may be waiting with baited breath for the new episode of Line of Duty, I find it difficult to sleep when I know that there is a new episode of Closing the Gap’s Research Sofa dropping. The most recent was a great discussion on the excitingly named S.P.I.D.E.R project. Watch it here.

Clear your diaries…and register for the following events now!

And looking a little further ahead to the summer, when hopefully there is some sunshine to accompany the following:

  • On June 2nd – June 3rd, MARCH ECR Lorna Collins, in collaboration with the network, is leading a conference looking at how creative health approaches and social prescribing can be used to connect and communicate life through generations. Click here for more info.
  • On the 9th of June, Loneliness & Social Isolation are hosting a workshop addressing loneliness in emerging adulthood. Find out more here.

And remember – in these digital times, just because an event is over, it doesn’t mean it is gone! Loneliness & Social Isolation held an event on the 10th of March, but thanks to technology we can bring the 10th of March to today! Visit their site here to watch their webinar on loneliness and mental health in young people as part of the UCL Catalyst Seminar series.

Or similarly, visit Emerging Minds’ website to catch up on all 3 days of speakers from their joint conference entitled ‘Youth Mental Health & COVID-19 – What do we know and what should we do?’, which was held in collaboration with the KCL Centre for Society & Mental Health and the Mental Elf. Watch the recordings here.

(p.s., we at #MentalHealthResearchMatters are currently working on hosting past event videos/recordings on our site – stay tuned..)

Get Involved

And just as seeing a Picasso in the flesh might inspire you to paint, or listening to Mark Knopfler may lead you to stretch your fingers and tune up your once retired guitar, perhaps hearing about all of this incredible work has inspired you to get involved with mental health research? If so, fear not! #MentalHealthResearchMatters brings you all of the available opportunities from across the networks.

Want a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher? SMaRteN are looking for participants to take part in a short online survey examining psychological aspects of relating. It’s open to all, click here for further details. The weather is (hopefully) continuing to warm up…. a large paddling pool from Amazon costs a little under £50….

A selection of the SIGs on offer
at Emerging Minds

Emerging Minds have a fantastic opportunity to get involved with their Special Interest Research Groups (SIGs). There are currently 17 SIGs established within the network – if you want to get involved, head to their website here.

MARCH members have also formed a plethora of interesting and unique SIGs which are open to anyone with shared interests. These cover a fantastically broad range of topics, from historic environments to hip hop and arts to archaeology – there really is something for everyone. To see the full list and learn more about getting involved, visit their website here. And as a reminder, it is not too late to take part in the UK’s largest Covid social study, organised and operated by MARCH.

Over here at #MentalHealthResearchMatters, we love a good example of inter-disciplinary work (that much will become abundantly clear over the next year or so…) and a fantastic example is the new Closing the Gap funded project Co-musicate. Operated by Dr Caroline Waddington, a lecturer in music education, and Anna Bramwell-Dicks from the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media, this project will be looking at the role music plays in feelings of social connectedness amongst people with serious mental illness (SMI). They will soon be looking for participants to be involved in the research, so keep an eye on Dr Waddington’s twitter!

And the Loneliness & Social Isolation network, alongside NIHR, have launched a survey with the aim of identifying how to tackle loneliness and social isolation in 16 – 25 year olds. The survey consists of 4 questions and anyone can partake. It is open until the end of May, so click here for further details.

And that is a wrap – thank you for reading! That is all for this monthif you have made it to the end of this overly long blog, then congratulations. For this blog post to be any shorter in the future, we will need the networks to stop producing so much fantastic work.

On second thoughts, perhaps the length of this blog is the lesser of two evils…. see you next month!

Want to stay even more up to date with all of the goings on across the networks? Be sure to follow all of the networks on twitter. We’ve made it easy for you – head to this twitter list to find all of your UKRI mental health network news in one place. Make sure to follow them all so you don’t miss out!

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