New £7M research investment to investigate population-based improvement of mental health

£7million funding from UK Research and Innovation has been awarded to lead partner King’s College London to establish a research theme in Population Mental Health, as part of a new national research network Population Health Improvement UK (PHI-UK) which includes University of Manchester researchers.

The aim of Population Health Improvement UK is to find innovative and inclusive ways to improve the health of people, places and communities and reduce health inequalities through the development and evaluation of long-lasting and environmentally sustainable interventions.

Population Mental Health is one of four initial research themes in the network. These themes are operationalised through investments in research clusters that bring together universities, government organisations, voluntary organisations and community partnerships, across the UK.

King’s College London (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience) and Thrive LDN are co-directors of this interdisciplinary research theme which aims to understand, identify and affect real-world policy change, to better address population-based improvement of mental health in the UK.

The other three themes in PHI-UK are Healthy Urban Places, Commercial Determinants of Health & Equity, and Enhancing Policy Modelling.

Research in the PHI-UK Population Mental Health theme is underpinned by three challenge areas: children and young people’s mental health, prevention of suicide and self-harm, and multiple long term health conditions, with a central focus on tackling mental health inequalities.

Principal Investigator and theme Director Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, from the IoPPN and the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, King’s College London said: “This is an exciting initiative to tackle a growing need to address public mental health challenges facing the UK today. We will strengthen our partnerships across local government, public health, voluntary organisations and universities across the UK. We will work with our stakeholders and people with lived experience, to harness large-scale data, to understand which population interventions hold the greatest promise, leading to good mental health for all.

At the University of Manchester, Prof Roger Webb will co-lead the ‘Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm’ challenge and Prof Matt Sutton will co-lead the ‘Data, Linkages and Causal Inference’ cross-cutting platform.

Prof Webb said: “I am excited to be involved in this innovative collaborative research programme. My studies will evaluate the impact of population-level policies and public health interventions on suicide and self-harm inequalities.”

Prof Sutton said: “The UK has such rich data on the causes, conditions and consequences associated with mental health, and I look forward to working with colleagues across the UK in discovering what we can learn from them together.”

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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