UCL Institute of Mental Health


Catalyst Seminar Series in Children and Young People’s Mental Health

10 March 2021, 1:00 pm–2:15 pm

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'Empty, alone, detached and misunderstood’: The importance of loneliness in understanding and improving young people’s mental health

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Maya Sapir

The second webinar of the series focuses on the impact of loneliness and social isolation on mental health in young people. This event is run in partnership with the UKRI-funded Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network (LSIMHRN). This is a UK-wide network of academics from diverse disciplines, community organisations, practitioners from e.g. social care, health care and built environment sectors, and people with lived experience of loneliness, social isolation and/or mental ill-health .

The UCL Catalyst seminar series is intended to spark fresh thinking and debate, featuring cutting-edge UCL research relevant for children and young people’s mental health and facilitating new connections between scientists working in different disciplines.

Four speakers from LSIMHRN will give 10-minute talks covering qualitative psychological, quantitative epidemiological, and clinically relevant approaches. These will be followed by short responses from a panel representing clinical psychology, cognitive neuroscience, epidemiology and health care, and lived experience expertise. This will be followed by discussion and questions.


  • Professor Sonia Johnson, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry and LSIMHRN joint-lead, will give an overview of the Network and will chair the webinar.
  • Sam Fardghassemi, PhD student in Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL, and LSIMHRN Early Career Researcher will speak on ‘The Causes and Experiences of Loneliness from the Perspective of Young People in London's Most Deprived Areas’
  • Dr Timothy Matthews, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London, and LSIMHRN Early Career Researcher will speaker on ‘A longitudinal twin study of loneliness and victimisation from childhood to young adulthood.’
  • Dr Eiluned (Ellie) Pearce, Research Fellow in the Division of Psychiatry UCL and LSIMHRN Coordinator, will speak on ‘Loneliness as an active ingredient to prevent or alleviate anxiety and depression in young people’

Panel members:

  • Chair: Professor Essi Viding, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology in Psychology and Language Sciences UCL, and LSIMHRN Co-Investigator.
  • Professor Roz Shafran, Chair in Translational Psychology in the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, and LSIMHRN Co-Investigator.
  • Professor Sarah Garfinkel, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and LSIMHRN member
  • Dr Alison McKinlayCOVID Social Study and UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care
  • Helina Tadesse (LSIMHRN Co-Production Group)
  • Lizzie Mitchell (Loneliness as an Active Ingredient Lived Experience Advisory Group)

***Registration is essential to receive the joining instructions. These will be sent 1-2 days before the event***