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Anita Attala

Anita Attala - Teesside University

Project Title: Exploring the views and opinions of Dietitians working in Specialist Adult Weight Management Services in the North-East of England on their skills, knowledge, and service provision for supporting people with obesity and a severe mental illness and/or learning disability  

Brief summary: The research is part of an MRes in Clinical Research.   

There is little training for Dietitians, and other health professionals working in physical healthcare settings, on how to support people with a severe mental illness or learning disability which may lead to poor service provision and stigmatising attitudes and behaviours from staff.   

This study will involve in-depth interviews with dietitians working in Tier 3 specialist adult weight management in the North-East of England and North Cumbria. It will explore Dietitians’ perceptions on how they support people with obesity and severe mental illness and/or learning disability in their services.  

Start / end dates: September 2022 - September 2024


Sonia Filmer

Sonia Filmer - Aston University

Project Title: Facilitators And Barriers to the De-prescribing OBenzodiazepines and Z-drug Hypnotics in patients under 65 on Adult Mental Health Wards (FABOB study).

Brief Summary: Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed group of medicines used to treat anxiety, insomnia and to manage alcohol withdrawal. Z-drug hypnotics are a newer group of medicines which are used to treat insomnia. There is a place for the use of benzodiazepines and z-drug hypnotics on adult mental health wards, but they are often continued beyond a length of time where they are beneficial. This can result in dependence and withdrawal effects if stopped. Regular review of this medication and, if appropriate, reduction in or cessation of prescribing of benzodiazepines and z-drugs is encouraged. However, there is limited evidence available as to what can support or act as a barrier to the review of benzodiazepines and hypnotics on adult mental health wards.

This project aims to understand what barriers currently exist to reviewing benzodiazepines and z-drug hypnotics and to explain what interventions help health care professionals review this medication.

Start / end dates: May 2022 - April 2023


Karen Leeves

Karen Leeves - Queen Mary University of London

Project Title: MSc Public Mental Health

Brief Summary: As I am a part time student, I will be doing my dissertation next academic year. I am hoping to explore the role of trained Senior Mental Health Leads (SMHLs) in Thurrock and their experiences of developing a whole school approach to mental health. This research idea is in response to the “Transforming Children and Young People’s mental health provision: A Green Paper and Next steps” (2017), where the Department of Health and Department for Education is aiming for a Designated SMHL in every school by 2025. 

Start / end dates: September 2022 - August 2024


Julia Mannes

Julia Mannes - Cambridge University

Project Title: Sociodemographic and referral characteristics of social care experienced young people referred to child and adolescent mental health services: a quantitative study of referral decisions and outcomes.

Brief Summary: In 2022, 22% of children and young people in England who received social care assessments (CYPwSW, n=404,310) were characterised as having mental health problems that constituted a primary factor necessitating social work involvement (Department for Education, 2022). Some CYPwSW experiencing mental health difficulties will be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). These referrals may then be accepted, rejected, or accepted after re-referral.

Currently, there is little information available in the literature about the factors that influence referral decisions. Exploring these decisions is vital on two grounds: understanding access to CAMHS for CYPwSW, and discerning inequalities in this access. This topic has been identified as urgently requiring further research by our experts-by-experience collaborators, and the recent Independent Review of Children’s Social Care (McAlister, 2022). This study will explore how sociodemographic characteristics, referral characteristics, and social care status relate to CAMHS referral outcomes. 

Start / end dates: October 2022 - September 2024


James McLeod

James McLeod - Durham University

Project Title: An examination of the perspectives of older autistic adults about their engagement in physical activity.

Brief Summary: Autistic adults are less likely to be physically active when compared to the non-autistic population. Despite the lower levels of physical activity observed among autistic adults, it is unknown why they are predominantly inactive. Much of the research so far has focused on understanding autistic adults physical activity participation from the perspectives of parents or young or middle-aged adults.

Substantively, there is also a dearth of research that has solely worked with older autistic adults (≥ 45 years) to examine how individuals behaviours, perceptions and experiences and microlevel interpersonal factors interconnect with multi-levels of the environment to influence, hinder or shape PA engagement. In this study 8-10 older autistic adults (at least 45 years old) will be recruited to complete either two in person or online semi structured interviews. The purpose of the study was to move beyond describing the facilitators and barriers of PA participation by examining how individuals behavioursperceptions and experiences and microlevel interpersonal factors interconnect with multi-levels of the environment to influence, hinder or shape PA engagement. 

Start / end dates: October 2022 - September 2023


Nicola Merrett

Nicola Merrett - University College London

Project Title: Understanding young people’s experience of period pain.

Brief summary: Qualitative research on the experience of period pain is limited but growing. This research is important in reflection of the prevalence of period pain and its impacts on women’s (and those assigned female at birth) quality of life both physically and psychologically. Social stigmas surrounding menstruation represent further challenges, where women report to be denied support for their period pain by healthcare professionals, colleagues, and family members. 

My project wants to address a gap in research that has overlooked young people’s experience of period pain and how age might influence accessing care. I will conduct semi-structured interviews with young people aged 16-21 with self-reported period pain. Each interview will explore their history, practices, and attitudes surrounding their period whilst they were aged 13 to 18. Qualitative findings will be used to identify participants health and wellbeing priorities for managing period pain 

Start / end dates: April 2023 - September 2023


Jamie Wong

Jamie Wong - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Project Title: Deprivationobesity, and mental health in children and adolescents before and after the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study.

Brief Summary: There has been substantial evidence indicating that mental health has dramatically worsened across the globe after the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased rates of anxiety and depression being seen in the UK and abroad. This has been particularly the case in children and adolescents, especially those living in deprived communities. However, evidence on whether associations between obesity and adverse mental health have strengthened post-COVID remains limited, and whether the deprivation gradient present in these associations has increased requires further research. 

Start / end dates: September 2022 - September 2023