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Ge Yu

I am a senior health economist with expertise in applied microeconometrics in the North East Health Economics Group, Newcastle University. I am currently holding an NIHR Senior Fellowship in Mental Health and an NIHR ARC Fellowship in Data Linkage and Assistive Technologies. I co-lead the Newcastle-upon-Type Microeconometrics Group (NuTMeG) to develop and refine tools and methods and so enhance the evaluation infrastructure. I also produce brief economic commentaries (BECs) for Cochrane Reviews and have served on the NIHR HSDR Funding Committee. Along with it, I provide health economic and microeconometric input into ARC linked projects and beyond, focusing on the development and maintenance of a framework for routine consideration of health data, and the delivery of rapid evaluation.  

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Award Title: Mental Health Fellowship

Start Date: 1st November 2021

End Date: 31st March 2024

Location of Research: North England

Collaborating Organisations: 

NIRH ARC NENC; North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS); Tees Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust; Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Foundation Trust;  

Other associated academic organisations: Northumbria University; University of Manchester  

Project title: Emerging eviDence on the impact of COVID-19 on mental hEalth sErvices and health inequalities in highly dePrived communities (DEEP) 

Brief summary: It is likely that the pandemic will be responsible for increased demand for mental health services. However, it also provides an opportunity to rethink conventional approaches to mental health services planning to meet these needs for underserved population.   

This project aims to find out what changes in mental health service and their impact on health and wellbeing for patients living in areas of high deprivation. I want to find out which changes worked well and those not so well for people living deprived communities. I will also provide recommendations for practice on how mental health service should be provided post pandemic and what would be a minimum acceptable service for times of future emergency or lockdown. 

Methods: A mixed methods approach is employed, comprising a rapid review, an observational study using retrospective routine data, and a Delphi survey. 

  • A rapid review will be undertaken to provide an evidence base supporting the recommendation of effective and acceptable mental health services and identify areas where the evidence base is lacking, and future research is required. 

  • A new longitudinal data resource will be created by linking together data from retrospective administrative data sets. The data resource will be used to investigate changes in mental health services received by deprived populations with pre-existing mental health conditions and their health outcomes between multiple time periods of the COVID-19 lockdown including out of lockdown. 

  • A regional online Delphi study will be undertaken to seek consensus on acceptable and effective organisation and delivery of care, and essential services whilst keeping risk of harmful infection low in a post pandemic future. 

Benefits anticipated: An agreed set practice recommendations and strategies to ensure renewed healthcare services for mental problems in deprived populations are equitable and effective in reducing their mortality and improving their health and wellbeing. This study will support the mental health element of the NHS post COVID recovery plan in underserved communities.