The round-up is your monthly catch up with the UKRI-funded mental health research networks. Here you’ll learn the latest news from the networks, hear about career-developing events, opportunities to take part in research and more. As usual, April has been a busy month for the networks, but before we get started on that, we wanted to point you in the direction of some fantastic new podcasts from the Mental Health Research Matters team.
Interdisciplinary podcast series
The Mental Health Research Matters team has created a mini-series of podcasts about interdisciplinary research, highlighting some of the less-common disciplines working in the area. We spoke to researchers from two EPSRC-funded projects, as well as Philippa Hemmings, Head of Healthcare Technologies at the EPSRC.
The first, Mathematics and Mental Health – what’s the Connection? explored how mathematicians can take messy, complex and evolving real-world data from multiple sources and turn it into something informative. This has a range of mental health applications, including building a broader picture of mental health from facial emotions as someone opens their phone.
The second, How Can AI Help us Manage Mental Health Conditions, looked at the SPHERE project. SPHERE uses at-home sensors to provide valuable information about health conditions for clinicians and researchers. This is a huge project with around 100 researchers working on it from a broad array of disciplines, with a big focus on co-production. Amid and Aisling share their top tips for early career researchers, and discuss the importance of interdisciplinary research and patient and public involvement.
Finally, the Mental Health Research Matters team spoke to Philippa Hemmings, Head of Healthcare Technologies at EPSRC to understand why they want to fund more mental health research. Philippa shares her thoughts on the role of engineering and physical sciences in mental health, and gives excellent practical to any early career researchers interested in interdisciplinary work. Her top tip? Don’t wait for the perfect funding call to come along!
Latest news from the networks
TRIUMPH network held an in-person get together for their youth advisory group (YAG) this month. After meeting and bonding online during the pandemic, TRIUMPH’s YAG finally met for a weekend of research, team building and collaboration. Check out their Twitter for some great photos from the residential. This balloon armchair icebreaker shot was a stand out for us!
Dates for your Diary
Are you coming to the Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network’s (LSIMHRN) Final Showcase Symposium? The event will be online on zoom from 10am-5pm on Wednesday 15th June, during Loneliness Awareness Week.
Hear the results from the 12 projects funded by LSIMHRN, and will celebrate the success of the network, shining a light on the importance of better understanding loneliness and mental health. You can view the provisional programme here.
Save the date: The Big Emerging Minds Summit Monday 17th October.
Join Emerging Minds for a celebration of mental health research that helps young people. Hear from plus-funded projects, and leave feeling motivated and inspired to create research that makes a difference.
If you can’t make it to Oxford, the team are organising an online schedule of activities too. Find out more.
Emerging Minds are hosting an Open Lab meeting on neurodivergence, mental health and embracing complexity. Register for your ticket here.
An eNurture-funded project has just published its findings in a policy brief: ‘GameSym Policy Brief: Young People’s mental health in live streaming and eSports environments’.
GameSyn was a two-day symposium with academics, industry partners and young people. The policy brief states that young people feel that social media platforms and the government are not doing enough to ensure that they can enjoy digital spaces safely. Read the full policy brief here.
The team behind Culturally Engaged and Sensitive Approaches to Mental Health Education (CESAME) – funded by TRIUMPH network – have published their findings on their website. The project explored the transition from junior to senior school for young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds, working alongside young people at every step of the way. Read the report here.
A significant aspect of Closing The Gap network’s work is their working group on oral healthcare for people with severe mental illness (SMI). A paper from the network has been published, on their qualitative study on the barriers and facilitators for maintaining oral healthcare for people with SMI. Closing the Gap researchers collaborated with people with experience of SMI, dentists, carers and mental health professionals to produce the paper, which highlights the need for tailored support and integrated health and mental health services. The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Health and Public Research. Read it here.
Take part in research
SMaRteN (The Student Mental Health Network) are looking for undergraduate students to take part in their Researcher/Student Co-Creation workshops. These are opportunities for students to contribute their views to upcoming projects related to students’ mental health and well-being, and work with researchers to help them refine their approach to yield more robust, relevant long-term results.
In May, they will run two sets of workshops, with intro sessions for each project on Tuesday 3rd and Thursday 5th of May. If you are keen, sign up for the intro sessions today. SMaRteN will acknowledge your contributions online, in the researcher’s final report. They’ll also give you £30 worth of shopping vouchers.
LSIMHN network is looking for men and non-binary people aged 16-24 who have experienced loneliness to take part in research. They’re asking young people to share their thoughts on what could reduce loneliness in young people. If you know someone who could be a good fit, send them here.
An eNurture-funded project is looking for paid volunteers to take part in their study. They are hoping to hear from:
- Young people aged 10-18 years old who have either asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
- Parents or guardians of young people with asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
As a volunteer in this study, you will receive up to £30 in vouchers, that’s £10 vouchers for each 10-minute survey that you respond to.
For more information or to volunteer for this study, please contact:
Dr Jennie Brown, email: Jennie.Brown.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about this study in a recent blog post on the eNurture website.
Something to watch
It’s often assumed that pets and companion animals are beneficial for people’s mental health. But does the research back this up for people with severe mental illness?
In Closing the Gap’s latest Research Sofa episode, Dr Emily Shoesmith discusses a survey she conducted for people with severe mental illness around pets and mental health. Emily discovered a complex relationship between pet ownership and mental health for people with severe mental illness, with both negative and positive aspects, challenging common assumptions. If you have five minutes, give it a watch.
Did you know that you can catch all of VAMHN’s previous webinars on their website? Their recent ‘Non-academic career pathways for researchers’ is available to watch now, alongside many others. It’s a rich resource of great content for continuous personal development, so take a look and brush up on those skills.
That’s it for now. Keep an eye on the Mental Health Research Matters hashtag, as we share the next round of co-videos very soon, featuring Loneliness and Social Isolation network, TRIUMPH and SMaRteN.