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Exeter is involved in two of eight new UKRI Mental Health Networks

Exeter in new UK Research and Innovation Mental Health Networks

The University of Exeter is involved in two of eight new Mental Health Networks to be announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The networks will bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions.

Exeter is involved in two of the Networks: Promoting Young People's Mental Health in a Digital World and Social, Cultural and Community Assets for Mental Health.

The first network will explore how the digital environment has changed the ways in which children experience and interact with their family, school and peers, and what effect this has on their mental health.

The second network will bring researchers together with policymakers, commissioners and third-sector organisations to further understand how community assets such as heritage sites, parks and volunteer groups can enhance public mental health and wellbeing, prevent mental illness and support those living with mental health conditions.

Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “These networks present exciting opportunities to increase and improve the research into what affects mental health in children and young people.

“Most adult mental health conditions start before the age of 15 so the work that these networks will do are really important. It is a privilege to be involved.”

The new Networks will embrace a collaborative ethos, bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including health, medicine, biology, social sciences, humanities and environmental sciences. Many of the networks will also include insight from charity workers, health practitioners and people with lived experience of mental health issues.

The Networks, which are supported with £8 million of funding and will be funded for four years (one for three), will progress mental health research into themes such as the profound health inequalities for people with severe mental ill health, social isolation, youth and student mental health, domestic and sexual violence, and the value of community assets. 

Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “Mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, and it is estimated that almost a quarter of the country’s population are affected by mental health issues each year.

“The UKRI Mental Health Networks will take a new approach to addressing this challenge by bringing together researchers across a wide range of disciplines with people who have experienced mental health issues, charities, health practitioners and other organisations. Through their work, the new Networks will further our understanding about the causes, development and treatments of a wide range of mental health issues.”

Date: 5 September 2018

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