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- New framework aims to unlock the potential for social media research into young people's mental health
- Relatives' experiences of violence from people living with severe mental health conditions: a neglected and poorly understood issue
- UKCRF Network awarded £2.4 million in public funding to support the delivery of early phase research studies
- £1.3 million Wellcome funding awarded to SlowMo
- Amelia Te appointed as Team Lead for King’s Clinical Research Facility (CRF)
- New study demonstrates link between brain chemical and visual processing in autism
- Psilocybin, in 10mg or 25mg doses, has no detrimental effects in healthy people
- No convincing scientific evidence that hangover cures work, according to new research
- Next generation of rapid-acting antidepressants: Can ketamine help prevent suicide?
- New collaboration with digital therapeutics company to investigate preventable opioid respiratory deaths
- Bringing together imaging and genetic mapping to investigate patterns of vulnerability in the brain
- Love Your Liver Month
- A virtual reality ‘Shopping Task’ could help test for cognitive decline in adults
- Genetics helps estimate the risk of disease – but how much does it really tell us?
- CUES-Ed: Promoting mental health and wellbeing among primary school children
- Involving more voices in research through the Race and Ethnicity Advisory Group
- My JournE: Smartphone-based routine mental health monitoring in schools
- MyHealthE: Digital Innovation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
- Novavax COVID-19 jab trialled at King’s CRF approved by UK drugs agency
- Lessons learnt as addictions researchers during a global pandemic
- Young women with epilepsy at greater risk of stress induced seizures and drug resistance
- New research suggests a causal link between blood group and severe COVID-19
- Telling our stories of research through a new microsite
- Multi-variant vaccine study opens at King's CRF
- New centre to accelerate psychedelic research and models of care for mental health in the UK
- VIEWER platform receives high commendation for Best Mental Health Partnership with the NHS at 2022 HSJ Partnership Awards
- New Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion appointed
- Topping Out ceremony marks a milestone for The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People’s Mental Health
- NIHR Maudsley BRC researchers lead first study of psilocybin in adults with autism
- Loneliness – so obviously important but very under-reported
- Professor Peter Goadsby elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society
- Professor Peter Goadsby elected to the Royal Society Fellowship
- My research journey: Jemma's story
- Making referrals to the AVATAR2 trial: An interview with Dr Helen Harding
- Unplanned hospital admissions for people with dementia higher in the last year of life
- #BePartOfResearch campaign: Our activity
- We need to put equity at the heart of pain management
- People with depression “stagnating” in primary care, says top UK Psychiatrist
- Hidden figures: Unveiling differences in diabetes care in people living with mild and moderate-to-severe dementia
- Depression: low serotonin may not be the cause – but antidepressants still work
- Bringing experience and research together to understand psychosis
- New multi-centre clinical trial to investigate psilocybin therapy in anorexia nervosa
- BRC PhD students attend NIHR Academy Doctoral Research Training Camp
- South Asian Heritage Month - an interview with Pratik
- Mental health stigma on Twitter during COVID-19: service user perspectives
- In search of lost treatment: how mental health research can be part of patient care plans
- ‘Drug related deaths are avoidable’ - South London and Maudsley and King's College London mark International Overdose Awareness Day 2022
- Going with the flow: study shows canals help boost your mood
- The power of co-production: Building service user research skills with the Recovery College
- Professor Sally Marlow to be first Researcher in Residence at BBC Radio 3
- Diagnosis of a genetic cause in hundreds of people with motor neuron disease could be missed due to “arbitrary age limits and rules” on genetic testing, new study shows
- Adults living in areas with high air pollution are more likely to have multiple long-term health conditions
- How to Do Research and How to Be a Researcher
- Healthcare workers in England experience PTSD at twice the rate of the general public
- Evaluating effectiveness of treatment for adults with chronic fatigue syndrome
- A Year in Review 2022
- Fellows award for Dr Katherine Young for work on the mental health of young people during and after the pandemic
- NEWS2 evaluated for prediction of severe COVID-19 outcome in large international study
- SIREN study finds past COVID-19 infection provides some immunity for at least five months
- Interview with Miguel Vasconcelos Da Silva
- COVID-19 lockdown loneliness linked to more depressive symptoms in older adults
- The significant effect of lockdown on gambler’s mental health
- Antibiotic may improve outcomes for depression in people with low level inflammation
- Novavax trial reveals 89.3% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19
- Case studies
- Deciphering the genetics behind eating disorders
- NIHR appoints Senior Investigators for 2021
- Depression and anxiety are associated with disagreement between patient and doctor assessments of psoriasis severity.
- Professor Peter Goadsby awarded world’s top Brain Prize 2021
- Interview with Dr Parisa Mansoori
- New study highlights the urgent need to reduce inflammation in overweight people with depression
- Novavax confirms vaccine provides 100% protection against severe COVID-19
- NIHR welcomes new vision for the Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery
- COVID-19 pandemic leads to rapid uptake of remote consultations in mental healthcare
- An Interview with Chifundo Stubbs
- Brain scans could offer sign of postpartum psychosis risk
- Innovative UK data hub to enable research and innovation to tackle mental illness
- Inflammation is a core feature of depression: new evidence from large-scale study
- Mothers’ depression impacts mother-infant relationships
- Shifts to remote mental health services continued after lockdown, according to new study
- An interview with Zunera Khan
- Silent MRI: improving access to neuroimaging research
- Simple blood test can accurately reveal underlying neurodegeneration, according to new research
- New research from King's has identified three key inflammatory proteins which are lower in individuals at risk of severe COVID-19.
- New insight into how anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce depression
- Five ways universities could improve mental health support for male students
- CogStack wins an Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award
- Volunteer calls for others to support dementia research in south London
- Europe's first 'game-changing' portable MRI machine arrives at King's Health Partners
- Global ALS/MND recognition Day
- Multiple long-term physical health problems increase risk of depression later in life
- An interview with Dr Marija-Magdalena Petrinovic
- COVID-19 variant vaccine begins recruiting in south London
- New Race and Ethnicity Advisory (READ) group is recruiting members
- NIHR Fellowship awarded to Dr Brendon Stubbs for research in persistent pain and serious mental illness
- Knowing what we don’t know: How statistics can help autistic people to live their best life
- New funding for innovative neuroimaging research
- Words don’t come easy: identifying perinatal self-harm in healthcare records
- Problems in thinking and attention linked to COVID-19 infection
- Opportunity for researchers to consult with new Race and Ethnicity Advisory group
- Exposure to air pollution linked with increased mental health service-use, new study finds
- Maudsley Hospital and King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre light up purple to raise awareness for International Overdose Awareness Day
- An interview with Charles Curtis
- Join our Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Group
- Common factors within the gut associated with depression and bipolar disorder
- SURE Recovery App – two years on after its launch
- Using CRIS to map the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – service user and carer priorities
- Genetic risks for depression differ between East Asian and European groups
- Excess deaths in people with mental health conditions increased during the COVID-19 pandemic
- ADHD Awareness Month: Developing neurofeedback as a new treatment for ADHD
- Genetic risk of mental health conditions may influence where people choose to live, study suggests
- Eating disorders are just as likely to start in adulthood as childhood, report finds
- An interview with Dr Charlotte Tye
- NIHR: Your Path in Research
- Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
- Using MRI to investigate the brain response to inflammatory stimuli
- MANTRA training developed at SLaM to be rolled out to adult eating disorder services across the UK
- Six years of memory decline seen in anxious, depressed older people during pandemic
- An interview with Dr Katherine Young
- The silent and widely impacting cost of Vulvodynia: lessons learned and future recommendations
- What can research tell us about engaging adolescent boys into school-based mental health workshops?
- Diagnosis of depression in adolescents can negatively impact educational performance, study shows
- Using neurofeedback as a means of treating feelings of self-blame in depression
- Review looks at benefits and barriers following shift to remote mental health services during pandemic
- What is treatment-resistant depression? New report calls for clearer definition to inform research and improve treatment
- NIHR Maudsley BRC: A Year in Review 2021
- UK Disability History Month - an interview with Naomi
- People feel lonelier in crowded cities – but green spaces can help
- Vitamin D supplementation does not improve symptoms in people with psychosis, study finds
- BRC researchers on the Highly Cited list doubles to twenty
- CRIS Blog: Are we under-estimating self-harm rates due to differences in hospital admittance procedures?
- BRC Researchers celebrated at the King’s Awards
- New study finds evidence for reduced brain connections in schizophrenia
- Exposure to trauma ‘activates’ genes into causing depression
- Nurses in research blog: Emma and Naomi
- New findings on the effects of cannabidiol on people with psychosis
- New centre of excellence for children and young people's mental health launched
- High volumes of mental health-related tweets associated with crisis referrals
- Call opens to drive the future of health data research
- CRIS Blog: Answering real-world questions about medication and mental health through pharmacoepidemiology
- CRIS Blog: Appropriate use of healthcare records for research
- CRIS Blog: Artificial Intelligence and Data in Suicide Prevention
- Largest ever study of eating disorders launches in England
- C4C research register now totals 20,000 people
- Georgia’s research secondment
- Study finds that Community Treatment Orders do not reduce hospital readmission rates or stays
- 10,000 people could benefit from new migraine drug
- Thirty risk factors found during and after pregnancy for children developing psychosis
- Heroin injection associated with respiratory disorder
- Researchers appeal to public for help to assess mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
- CRIS Blog: CRIS in the time of coronavirus
- Depression and anxiety increase premature death by up to 134%
- Mental health and brain research must be a higher priority in global response to tackle COVID-19 pandemic
- Stories from our students: Becki
- COPE Study: Investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and well-being
- Thought provoking men’s mental health film released
- Animated parenting tips for struggling households
- Researchers track COVID-19 isolation effects on older people’s health and wellbeing
- From Babylonian blood-letting practices to wearable tech, new film on the evolution of depression perceptions and treatment
- Patient and public recommendations for getting involved in BRC research
- Cognitive behavioural therapy reduces the impact of dissociative seizures
- Mind the Gap 17-25: A diagnosis doesn’t define you
- Sarah Markham writes about her experiences in research
- Covid-19 Psychiatry and Neurological Genetics (COPING) study
- Trial testing a unique formulation of ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 launches
- New study to monitor the real-time effect of COVID-19 on mental health services
- Introducing the CRIS Natural Language Processing (NLP) Service
- Study shows Cognitive Remediation Therapy leads to improvement in cognitive skills and well-being in people with bipolar disorder
- New Research Training and Capacity Development lead announced
- Growing numbers of alcohol related hospital admissions linked to local spending cuts
- ACE inhibitors and ARBs not associated with severity of Coronavirus
- Data linkages animation explores the evolution of healthcare records in research
- Study estimates impact of COVID-19 pandemic on UK mental health after first month of lockdown
- Genes related to inflammation and stress may help tailor treatments for depression
- Can wearables like Fitbit devices be used to help detect COVID-19?
- Lithium in drinking water linked with lower suicide rates
- Loss of potential: teens diagnosed with depression show reduction in educational achievement from primary school to GCSE
- £1.2 million to roll-out dementia care home programme to COVID-hit sector
- NIHR announces mental health research goals for next decade
- Rosalind helps researchers navigate personal health data
- An interview with Dr Ndaba Mazibuko
- National study into neurological impact of COVID-19
- Study supports link between traffic-related air pollution and mental disorders
- How our eLIXIR research database helps reduce risk of health problems in mothers and children
- Eating a healthy diet can ease symptoms of depression
- CRIS Blog: Pathfinders and the public
- NIHR Maudsley BRC researchers host dementia discussion in collaboration with South London Theatre
- Could intranasal oxytocin be used to treat people at clinically high risk of psychosis?
- CRIS blog: Using data on hospital episodes to look at the physical health of people with personality disorders
- Cannabis-based medicine to be tested in Alzheimer's trial
- Largest ever study of depression and anxiety now recruiting individuals from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
- One in ten UK hospital inpatients is alcohol dependent
- CRIS Blog: Art and Value at Bethlem Gallery: an art-science collaboration with Sarah Carpenter and CRIS
- Genetic study reveals metabolic origins of anorexia
- Compensatory strategies to disguise autism spectrum disorder may delay diagnosis and have negative consequences for mental health
- Close monitoring essential to ensure safety of ketamine for depression
- Six BRC academics promoted to new positions, including two new professorships
- CRIS Blog: Medichec - A tool to make prescribing safer for people with dementia
- Study gets under way to test psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression
- 'An inspiring day': BRC community gathers to share knowledge at conference
- CRIS Blog: CRIS data demonstrates need for better physical healthcare for people who use heroin
- SURE Recovery: the new addiction recovery app designed alongside service users
- Our first ever artist residency to kick off with Afrobeat and Dub gig in South London
- Expert panel examines barriers faced by working class academics
- UK Biobank mental health study
- CRIS blog: Using CRIS to evaluate mental health diagnoses in routine national statistics
- Engaging in physical activity decreases people’s chance of developing depression
- Unprecedented study identifies 44 genetic risk factors for major depression
- New research: Hospitals often missing dementia despite prior diagnosis
- 2018 Takeover Challenge
- CRIS blog: The future of psychiatry research
- CRIS blog: Do long-term prescriptions of multiple antipsychotics contribute to the reduced life expectancy of patients with serious mental illness?
- Improving dementia care and treatment saves thousands of pounds in care homes
- New service in south London reduces hospital readmissions for people with bipolar disorder
- Ten BRC researchers and academics among most cited in the world
- Students 'take over' the BRC
- Computers can ‘spot the difference’ between healthy brains and the brains of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Service User Advisory Group for 12-16-year-olds
- New Clinical Disorders and Health Behaviours cluster lead announced
- Blog: The SLG Arts Assassins collaborate with the BRC
- Professor Matthew Hotopf receives CBE at Buckingham Palace
- Professor Robert Stewart awarded ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ project
- NIHR Maudsley BRC researchers receive Senior Investigator awards
- Research blog: Using social media to recognise mental health conditions
- Department of Health Chief Scientific Adviser Chris Whitty visits Maudsley BRC
- NIHR Maudsley BRC commences five-year research programme
- IMPARTS Seminar Learning from experience
- New research highlights higher hospitalisation rates in people with intellectual disabilities
- Digital Technology for Mental Health: Asking the right questions
- Maudsley becomes London’s Global Digital Exemplar
- CRIS blog: An online risk calculator to identify candidates for early intervention services
- NIHR Maudsley BRC researcher wins award to understand suicide warning signs in children
- Who are the NIHR? #WeAreNIHR
- Brain stimulation may improve cognitive performance in people with schizophrenia
- Risk for bipolar disorder associated with faster ageing
- Omega-3 fatty acids improve symptoms in children and adolescents with ADHD
- South London and Maudsley tops NIHR league table for number of active research studies
- Connecting care homes with research
- Research blog: Using advanced search technologies to help manage infectious disease outbreaks
- A&E attendance for people with dementia is common and increasing
- Event: Seminar on dementia art project "Beyond Memories"
- Professor Oliver Howes receives Royal College of Psychiatrists Award
- First network analysis of patient flow in two UK hospitals published
- Honorary Degree for Professor Dame Til Wykes
- Concentrated naloxone nasal spray as good as injection
- Professor Matthew Hotopf appointed Vice Dean
- Potential for machine learning to predict unknown adverse drug reactions
- Complications at birth associated with lasting chemical changes in the brain
- Study examines opiate-dependent patient deaths
- NIHR Lectureship awarded
- Treatment cuts migraine days by half
- CRIS Blog: Serious Mental Illness and Pregnancy
- Kings world-class contribution to understanding of clozapine
- Research blog: PROMPT project reveals complex profile of people using psychological therapy services
- Tony David John Toulmin Lecture
- Crick synapse event
- IMPARTS Seminar Harnessing digital technology in mental and physical healthcare
- CRIS blog: Eight years on
- Experts call for greater recognition of little-known forms of dementia
- Event: Clinical Research Facility Research Forum
- Ewan Birney MRC SGDP Seminar
- Al Chalabi Sheila Essey Award
- Event Pint of Science 2016
- RADAR CNS smartphone wearable devices transform medical care
- Cardiovascular drug underprescribing
- Consultation reveals better integration between physical & mental health physicians as top priority
- Prestigious Fellowships awarded to BRC researchers
- Dermatology clinic psychology screening project shortlisted for BMJ Awards
- Independent Researcher Awards 2016
- BMJ Award for team who are incorporating mental health service into dermatology clinic
- Research blog systematic biases in death certification
- Victoria Derbyshire show inheritance mental illness
- BRC spin out Mindwave launches
- Research blog: Learning how to be a critical friend to researchers
- Research blog International Clinical Trials Day
- Blood test to personalise depression treatment for the first time
- Centre for Translational Informatics launches
- Professor John Strang receives Knighthood
- Film mental health summer school
- Mental health hackday - your help needed
- Research blog: Trialling an online tool to help women make decisions about antidepressants in pregnancy
- Data linkage group your help needed
- CRIS blog: Investigating the impact of antipsychotic medications used to treat people with serious mental illness
- Research blog Maudsley BRC part of winning team at NIHR training camp
- Neuroimaging theme research funding
- NIHR Maudsley BRC announces 2016 Youth Awards winners
- Event: Illusions A window to your brain
- Matthew Hotopf wins prestigious Katon Research Award
- IMPARTS shortlisted for HSJ award
- NIHR Maudsley BRC receives £66m new investment from government
- NIHR Maudsley BRC researchers win prestigious awards
- Event NIHR i4i Programme Mental Health Challenge Awards Launch
- Genetic tests could help predict which psychosis patients will develop schizophrenia
- Event No Exchange, Same Pain, No Gain - Risk-Reward of Wearable Healthcare Disclosure for Receiving Pain Treatment
- C4C recruits 10k
- Research blog: How fatty clues in the blood are improving our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease
- Early intervention shows promising long-term reduction in severity of autism symptoms
- Bringing mental health education to a classroom of 300
- South London and Maudsley rated top mental health trust for recruiting patients to clinical studies
- Mental Health & Technology: Ideas Generation Workshop
- NIHR i4i mental health challenge launch
- UK Government announces £4m investment in NIHR Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility
- NIHR Maudsley BRC PhD student wins International Society for the History of Neurosciences book prize
- NIHR Maudsley BRC's takeover challenge
- Event Suicide detection and prevention using mobile technology, social media and informatics
- Event Misconceptions and Reconceptualisations in Digital Mental Health
- Research blog: Defining treatment resistance in schizophrenia
- Mental health needs of baby boomers covered in new report from England’s Chief Medical Officer
Interview with Dr Parisa Mansoori
Dr Parisa Mansoori, is the Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration (MH-TRC) Collaboration Operations Manager, at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR Maudsley BRC is one of 14 MH-TRC members. Parisa started in the role in February 2019. Follow Parisa on Twitter @parisamansoori.
What is the NIHR Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration?
It is a national collaboration bringing together the UK’s collective resources for experimental medicine and early phase clinical trials in mental health and in research areas that have implications for mental health, such as medical informatics.
We are a unified and coherent front to funders, including the government, charity, and industry, and generally we aim to raise the profile of mental health research, to ensure that mental health receives its deserved public attention and investment. Another area that we work in is capacity development to increase mental health research workforce nationally, particularly outside London.
Our members include all the NIHR Infrastructure in the space of mental health (Biomedical Research Centres and Clinical Research Facilities), their equivalent in Wales and Scotland and a few other centres in England who have excellent capacity for mental health research but do not yet have a mental health theme in their NIHR Infrastructure. (You can find a map of all our collaborating sites on the MH-TRC webpage).
What does your role involve?
I manage the MH-TRC. My role has various aspects. I primarily facilitate and support the setting up of collaborative projects and at times support their delivery too. I organise regular meetings for the MH-TRC Co-Chairs, Oversight Group, and its workstreams in Early Psychosis, Treatment Resistant Depression, Medical Informatics, Mental Health BioResource, and Training.
Academics share their research ideas, industry offers, or project outlines with the potential for becoming a multi-site study which I then share with relevant experts across our national network and collect feedback. I bring all the interested parties together to discuss the ideas and plan a collaborative project if appropriate. The value here is the pace at which we mobilise people and our national outreach.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, our TRC proved to be really helpful for the research community because we could link people up to like-minded experts quickly. This led to various collaborative multi-site projects, and exchange of research tools, contacts, and so on.
I also help with exchange of knowledge and experiences between various centres by conducting mapping exercises, such as mapping of capability and facilities, Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) strategies and activities, or training opportunities.
I keep myself updated with the broader NIHR landscape for potential opportunities, for example priority-setting exercises that could inform future funding calls or initiatives in the NIHR Academy for capacity building such as the Mental Health Incubator. I ensure projects on our portfolio speak to each other when there is value, such as with the Principal Investigators of the COVID-CNS study, including Professor Gerome Breen from NIHR Maudsley BRC, and the PHOSP-COVID study to ensure the two studies are harmonised. I also promoted the GLAD study across our Treatment Resistant Depression and Early Psychosis workstreams to encourage use of this valuable trial-ready cohort by academics.
Finally, once or twice a month, I attend meetings discussing research policies at the national level. I advocate for mental health to ensure it will be considered from early stages in any initiative related to health research.
How does your role work with our BRC and others?
The MH-TRC was established in 2018 by Professor Matthew Hotopf CBE, the Director of the NIHR Maudsley BRC, as the first Chair of the MH-TRC, and Professor John Geddes, Director of Oxford Health BRC, as the first Deputy Chair.
We now have adopted a triumvirate leadership model with three brilliant Co-Chairs to ensure sustained and inclusive leadership: Professor. Geddes is our Present Chair, Professor Hotopf the Emeritus Chair and Professor Rachel Upthegrove from the University of Birmingham, the Deputy Chair.
We regularly review activities and discuss emerging opportunities for the TRC.
I am in regular contact with all our other 14 members, some of whom are not part of the NIHR Infrastructure. We have an Academic Lead from each of our collaborating sites on our Oversight Group, an Operational Lead, and also an average of 10 academics from each site who are part of our several workstreams and I try to support them all through activities mentioned earlier.
Tell us about your career
I completed a six-year programme at the School of Pharmacy at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. I chose pharmacy mainly due to social pressure – as a teenager, I wanted to study landscape designing instead. I don’t regret that choice because I learned about my passion for mental health and the experiences that I acquired while working as a pharmacist were key in strengthening some of my core values.
One of my professors specialised in psychopharmacotherapy advised me to start shadowing psychiatrists at hospital clinics. I was fascinated learning about the brain and the psychosocial aspects of health and I started going to the psychiatry clinics whenever I could. I decided to work on a mental health research related project for my dissertation and focused on sexual dysfunction side effect of a group of anti-depressant drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
At the same time, I worked part time as a pharmacist, for a year in a pharmacy in a deprived part of Tehran and for another year answering calls to a helpline at a national drug and poison information centre. These experiences made me learn more about social determinants of health, health inequalities, and the key role of policies in population health.
I then worked as a Research Assistant in a Mental Health Research Centre. I contributed to delivery of a few clinical trials and worked as an editorial assistant for a national psychiatry journal where gradually I developed an interest in various aspects of health research - where publications are only one component of this bigger system. I worked in a developing country where resources for research are really limited and whenever we received a new submission to our journal I considered whether doing that research was a reasonable use of the resources and whether it was answering the real needs.
This encouraged me to learn more about health research systems and pursue a PhD. I got a scholarship from the University of Edinburgh to focus on global health research. I studied different approaches and tools for the efficient use of resources to increase high-quality and essential health research. This led me to look for job opportunities at funding organisations where I could put what I had learned into practice. Surprisingly, the first job ad which I saw and applied for was for my current role at the NIHR that was a mix of my more recent interest in health research system and my everlasting interest in mental health research.
What are you most proud of?
I have worked in a wide range of professions, sectors, and settings. I am most proud of the people I served or worked with throughout my career, either patients, carers, academics, policy-makers, clinicians, professional services staff, they all seemed to have been trusting me and that has been incredibly precious.
How did you get interested in research?
I didn’t know much about research until I was at the School of Pharmacy. When I discovered my interest in mental health, I found out that by working on a mental health research project I could spend more time in mental health settings and expand my knowledge in that area. So, I first got interested in mental health and later in research.
Any favourite parts of your role?
There are many. One of my most favourite parts is the alignment of the role with my values: equity and justice. Neglecting one area of health on the basis that it seems different to areas that we are more informed about is simply unjust. I believe trying to raise the profile of mental health research ultimately leads to improvements in the lives of those who struggle with mental ill-health, a struggle that should be unacceptable, and I am proud by being a contribution to the positive change.
I also get to work with a wide range of people in various sectors (charities, universities, NHS Trusts, companies, funding organisations, the government) and I like being the liaising person between these while also learning from them all.
What does an average working day look like for you?
They are varied. However, a big chunk of my time is spent organising meetings. I’m in charge of ensuring lots of different groups meet regularly to keep the momentum going. I prepare the meeting agendas which I enjoy because I can suggest to meeting chairs agenda items or potential external speakers to invite based on ideas that our community send to me or opportunities or challenges that I identify. I am also responsible for the operational management of the meetings and following up all the actions e.g. organising further meetings, webinars, workshops, or conferences. I also spend quite a lot of time in internal meetings within various coordinating centres of the NIHR where I get updated about the wider NIHR activities. Finally, like many others, some of my days are fully dedicated to reporting tasks.
What are you working on at the moment?
Several projects! One that I am most excited about is identifying research priorities in children and young people mental health to ultimately improve mental health services and treatment for people aged between 11 to 25 years old. We are using a crowdsourcing method called CHNRI to develop a list of feasible and fairly specific research questions that could address the priorities that were identified through the McPin Foundation & James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership: Identifying the Research Priorities in Children and Young People’s Mental Health.
So far, 44 leading children and young people mental health researchers from across the UK have participated in this project. They have collectively generated and ranked a list of 87 research questions against a set of five criteria. We are now working with McPin to invite their stakeholders and young advisors to score the questions and identify the top priorities for us. I am working with colleagues in the NIHR to make the dissemination and comms plan as we will soon have the final results.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your work / life?
I used to be partially remote working before the pandemic. Since March 2020, I have been working entirely from home. I share one working space at home with my partner which has its own challenges particularly when our meetings clash. Pre-pandemic, I used to travel to meet with our collaborators across the UK which obviously has stopped.
The community that I work with has become slightly more available. At the same time, I had to be more mindful about not to overwhelm them with too many meetings as many have got virtual meeting fatigue now. Once the pandemic is over, we will need to run a survey to see if people would ever want to meet face to face again – especially to factor in people who need to travel from all across the UK.
A positive change is that we used to have many teleconferences before, which always felt bizarre to have 30 people on a phone call. But now all the teleconferences have moved to be virtual video meetings where participants use the Chat function and see each other – I hope we will never go back to using teleconferences for large meetings.
The most important impact on my personal life is that I haven’t been able to see my parents other than in video calls for more than 14 months now because that would require international travel.
Favourite book / TV series / box set
I very much enjoyed reading Into the Abyss by Anthony David and This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (audio version narrated by Adam Kay).
TV series that I watched in 2020 and liked: A Perfect Planet; After Life; The life after; I am now following BBC's Interior Design Masters. Watching Friends has also remained with me.
I watched plenty of films in 2020 that I would recommend: Sorry We Missed You (2019); Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019); Pain and Glory (2019); The kid with a bike (2011); Lunchbox (2013); Our little sister (2015); Sweet Bean (2015); The Servant (1963); and documentaries such as Coup 53 (2019); A life on our planet (2020); 13th(2016); The Story of Diana (2017); and several good short documentaries on Films for Action library.
How would you spend your perfect Saturday?
I would start off by preparing a great brunch while listening to a podcast. I’d spend time in nature with my partner (particularly working on our quarter plot on the allotment if the sun is out). I’d also have a video call with my parents and sister - we live in three distinct continents so time-wise a family call can only happen on weekends! We have recently started cooking sessions on weekends with an international group of friends which is quite fun! Every weekend one of us would teach a recipe and we cook all together (remotely).
What has been your best discovery of the lockdown(s)?
I gave outdoor running a try for the very first time using the Couch to 5K app and finishing it was quite an accomplishment for me!
Since April 2020, I have been watching a swan family at a local park when five tiny cygnets were just born till now that three have survived and are starting to look like young adults and have started flying too.
Tags: BRC Interview Series - Staff News -
By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 10 Mar 2021, 08:30 AM
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