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Emily Oliver

Project Members Collage

Project Members Collage

Emily is a Professor of Behavioural Sciences in Newcastle University’s Population Health Sciences InstituteHer research explores how motivation and mental health can be supported in the community, with a focus on developing approaches that engage those who may be excluded from standard services.  Outside of work, Emily enjoys playing rugby, bouldering, and being in the mountains. 

Ilaria completed an interdisciplinary PhD in Psychology, Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling in 2021. She previously worked with low- and middle-income countries to support both quantitative and qualitative research on pulmonary rehabilitation. She has a background in physiotherapy and healthy ageing. Her research interests include health inequalities and physical activity. Outside of work, her interests are exercising, reading and cooking. 

Sue lives in Scarborough and is a Peer Researcher for the McPin Foundation, London. She has a background as a Registered General Nurse in both primary & secondary & recently completed a degree in Counselling Theory, where she became interested in mental health researchHaving worked as a Practice Nurse in health promotion clinics, including both physical health & mental health checks, Sue now has a great interest in researching how we can best deliver physical health support to people living with severe mental illnessShe also works as a Community Navigator on a sociology research study & has also been involved with the MODS/BASIL mental health study. Outside of work, Sue enjoys keeping fit by walking, spinning, swimming & PilatesHer interests also include the Arts – theatre, cinema, museums & live music. 

Dan has recently moved to Newcastle from Aberystwyth, Wales and has a background in health research looking at improving lifestyle behaviours and wellbeing in people who are overweight with the use of Bluetooth-enabled cooking devices, and better understanding the patient journey of those living with prediabetes to improve their engagement with lifestyle behaviour changeDan has also looked at wellbeing in healthcare professionals employed on NHS sitesOutside of work, his interests include staying fit and active, hiking, cooking and anything music related. 

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Award Title: Project Grant

Start Date: 1st November 2021

End Date: 31st March 2025

Location of research: Northeast of England; Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. 

Collaborating OrganisationsDurham University, Northumbria University, and University College London (UCL). 

Project members:

  • Professor Emily Oliver (Principal Investigator) 
  • Dr Ilaria Pina (Research Associate) 
  • Sue Webster (Peer Researcher) 
  • Dan Steward (Research Assistant) 

Project Title: WHOLE-SMI: Wellbeing and HOListic health promotion for people with Severe Mental Illness.  

Brief Summary: 

Severe mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia, bipolar and other conditions, affects about 1 in 100 people in England. In recent years attention is increasingly being paid to how we can better support peoples’ physical health, with reports of how people with SMI die on average 20 years earlier than others in the general population. We know that many of the reasons behind this can, and must, be changed.   

Our research builds on the PRIMROSE programme, that developed and tested services to promote physical health (in particular cardiovascular health risk) in people with SMI. In these studies and subsequent work, nurses, health care assistants and peer coaches supported people living with SMI to identify and change factors that increased their risk of poor physical health (e.g., smoking, weight, alcohol misuse).  

By using surveys, interviews, workshops and observation, our research is examining how we can implement physical and holistic health support to people living with SMI in the North East of England. We are working with healthcare providers, experts by experience, and community service providers to look at what helps and hinders successful service delivery. We will compare approaches with ongoing implementation in other areas of the UK to ultimately identify how best to deliver services so that individuals with SMI can experience better physical and holistic health.   

Methods: We are using mixed methods informed by peer researchers and stakeholder involvement including: surveys of climate and culture, interviews, workshops, site visits, and embedded observation. 

Benefits Anticipated: We anticipate supporting health services in the northeast of England and north Cumbria to deliver an effective and engaging holistic health support service that works for people living with SMI. In the longer term, we hope to reduce the mortality gap and inequalities experienced by people living with SMI; in essence, helping people with SMI to live well now and in the future.