The Round-Up – February 2022

The Round-up – February

Let’s get stuck into another Round-up – catching you up on all of the latest news from the UKRI-funded mental health networks.


An important but often overlooked health struggle for people with severe mental illness is oral health. That’s why the oral health special interest group in Closing the Gap launched a consensus statement about oral health care and severe mental illness. Read it here.

The Closing the Gap team are delighted to announce the results of their latest funding call. For their Impact Accelerator Award, they were looking to fund knowledge mobilisation projects to ensure research findings make a real-world difference to people living with severe mental illness. Read about the projects here. 

SMaRteN has launched its new report on measuring wellbeing in students. This is an important resource to guide measurement of well-being across the sector, in recognition of priorities from people studying and working in Higher Education. Find out more here. 

TRIUMPH’s plus-funded project, Culturally Engaged and Sensitive Approaches to Mental Health Education (CESAME), held a dissemination event at the end of January. This successful online event gave insights into the project’s main findings. Learn more about the CESAME project here. 

The Mental Health Research Incubator Awards are open for nominations! Do you know someone making a real difference in mental health research? Have you got a research project that you want to shout about? The Incubator want to hear from you. They are offering awards in four categories:

  • Collaborative involvement of patients and /or the public
  • Building research in underserved areas
  • Mental health innovation
  • Early impact of research

Nominate yourself or someone you know by 5 pm on the 4th of March.

Call for nominations – up to £1000 MHR Incubator Awards — NIHR Applied  Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley

Call for Abstract Submissions

The Loneliness and Social Isolation mental health network looking for abstract submissions for its Final Showcase Symposium on 15th June 2022. They are especially keen to hear from early career researchers and lived experience researchers. Does this sound like you? Submit an abstract!

If you’d like a 10-minute slot to speak about your research in one of the two parallel sessions, which will also include presentations from our funded Network Plus Projects. Alternatively, you can apply to give a poster presentation consisting of a 3-5 minute video about your research. This will be hosted on the Mental Elf YouTube channel and accessible via the Loneliness and Social Isolation website. 

Submit your abstracts for both live talks and poster videos here by 5 pm on 4th April 2022.

Loneliness and Social Isolation Research Network Final Showcase Symposium |  Psychiatry - UCL – University College London

Dates for your Diary

Grab your ticket for Emerging Mind’s next OpenLab webinar. On Monday 28th February, set aside your lunch hour for ‘Who benefits and how? Young people’s involvement in mental health research.’ This webinar is brought to you by the CoRAY team and The McPin Young People’s Network. Reserve your ticket here.

Emerging Mind’s will also hold another OpenLab on the 23rd of March.  If you want to catch ‘Live music gigs and concerts: a ‘staged’ approach to mental wellbeing for children and young people‘, register today.

Published studies

Kindness by post: This month, the Loneliness and Social Isolation network published a study examining the well-being impact of sending and receiving kind messages via post with strangers. They found sending a kindness card played a predominant role in well-being enhancement, and those who received a card felt a reduction in loneliness. They noticed a small but statistically significant improvement in well-being across the 289 participants.

Another paper from the Loneliness and Social Isolation Network explored neighbourhood characteristics and social isolation of people with psychosis: a multi-site cross-sectional study. The researchers looked at the relationship between population density and social isolation for people living with psychosis. They found people who had psychosis were more isolated when they were in more densely populated areas. On a similar theme, Closing The Gap published a paper this month exploring loneliness among people with severe mental illness during the pandemic and lockdowns.

Closing The Gap also studied how the first year of the pandemic and lockdowns affected people living with severe mental illness (SMI), and whether lockdowns compounded existing physical and mental health inequalities for people with SMI. Read it here.

A third study from Closing the Gap asked how people with severe mental illness felt about the mental health and primary care support that they received during the pandemic. Although the majority of the 367 participants surveyed felt they received the support that they needed, a minority reported that their mental health deteriorated and they had not got the support they needed or did not seek support.

Useful resources

Have you seen Closing The Gap’s FAQ on Knowledge Mobilisation? The FAQ covers key questions about Knowledge Mobilisation along with signposting to further reading and resources. Take a look now!

Emerging Minds CoRAY team has been working with designers to develop exciting evidence-based infographics for young people’s mental health

The infographics offer advice and support to young people in the following areas:  

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

Take part in research

Are you a student? Or perhaps you work in higher education alongside students? Or maybe your work is relevant to students? If so, SMaRteN network would like you to take part in their RUM survey. No, not that kind of rum. SMaRteN are looking to develop a Resource Use Measure tool to describe health-related costs and service use for student mental health support. See if you’re eligible here.

Something to watch

Last month, VAMHN held its first in a series of early-career researcher (ECR) webinars. This episode shared insights with ECRS about how to engage the media – an important skill if you want your research to have an impact! Brush up on your knowledge by catching up here.

Something to read

eNurture continues its blog series from the grant holders. For the latest blog, Dr Michelle O’Reilly talks about her project ‘Empowering pre-teens online through a digital ethics of care framework’. She outlines the study and shares some of the exciting developments so far.

How does loneliness, social isolation and mental health affect the farming community? Professor Matt Lobley and Dr Rebecca Wheeler from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR) and The Farming Community Network (FCN) wrote a  blog about the Loneliness and Social Isolation Network Plus Project. Their research involved in-depth interviews with 22 farmers and six practitioners. 

 Download a copy of their research report here and catch up on their webinar here.

Something to listen to

One of TRIUMPH’s members, Dr Pamela Jenkins, produced a new podcast series about experiences of living with a parent with mental illness. Check it out here.


Applications are closing soon for eNurture’s final funding call. Make sure you check out their criteria if you have a brilliant idea for a mental health project exploring the relationship between young people and the digital world. Deadline: 31st March.

Could you be eligible for a bursary from the VAMHN? The network is offering bursaries of up to £250 to support junior researchers in attending courses, research placements and training. Applications are open until 21st April – find out about the eligibility requirements here.  Also, you can hear from previous bursary winners who have written a blog about their experiences here.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for another month, folks! Keep an eye on socials for season 2 of the co-videos and a podcast series about mathematics, engineering and physics in mental health research, brought to you by the mental health research matters team.