UCL Institute of Mental Health


Public Engagement Grants 2022/23

The IoMH has established public engagement grants scheme to encourage better engagement of the public with mental health research.

Successful applications for our Public Engagement (PE) grants scheme 2022/2023

Mental health literacy among secondary school students: co-producing an interactive workshop and talk on depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide

Lead applicant: Gemma Lewis, Division of Psychiatry

The aim of our project is to improve knowledge and awareness of mental health problems among young people by developing an interactive workshop and talk, which will be delivered in secondary schools. Our focus is on depression, anxiety and self-harm. These are the most common mental health problems experienced by young people, rates are rising, and they are leading causes of suicide. There is evidence that young people of secondary school age generally have a poor understanding of:

  • What depression and anxiety are, and how they relate to self-harm and suicide
  • How common these mental health problems are
  • What causes them
  • Treatment, prevention and self-help strategies.

Although there are several mental health education programmes for UK schools, few are: Delivered by mental health experts, in partnership with universities; Designed in collaboration with secondary school students, teachers, scientists and clinicians; Freely available and proactively engaging schools. We have created a diverse team which includes a psychiatric epidemiologist, child and adolescent psychiatrist, secondary school students and teachers. Together, we will create:

  • An interactive workshop to educate secondary school students about depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide that is timed to fit a standard school lesson
  • A talk, which will be available in addition to the workshop, and can be delivered during an assembly instead of a lesson
  • A database of experts from within UCL (staff and postgraduate students) who will be trained to deliver the talk and workshop and proactively engage schools 
  • A website to advertise our initiative

We will ensure that cutting-edge science and clinical knowledge is communicated to young people and teachers in a way that addresses their priorities, and is engaging and understandable. We hope that our initiative will reduce stigma and improve the early recognition, treatment and prevention of mental health problems among young people.

Bringing Co-Designed Self-Care Tools for Eating Disorders to Life: Working with People with Lived Experience of Eating Disorders to Develop Two New Inclusive Tools: An Audio File and an Animated Video

Lead applicant: Amy Harrison, IoE

We have worked with people with lived experience of eating disorders to produce tools and resources designed to support recovery. These tools include written guides and short videos. In 2022, we were awarded funding from the National Institute for Health Research to work with people experiencing eating disorders and people supporting individuals with eating disorders to co-create new tools that would be more relevant and useful for a more diverse group of people (e.g. type of eating disorder, gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity and caring role). We now have a series of more inclusive, co-designed tools.

We would like to use this funding to work with members of the public with lived experience of eating disorders to bring two of these tools to life: an audio file and an animated video. Together, we will produce a transcript, subtitles, and an audio only version of the video, ideas co-created with people with lived experience to ensure that these tools are as accessible as possible for the largest number of people. The applicants will work with Amie Liebowitz, an expert in audio production who works for the BBC to produce the audio file and host it on the IOE Podcast website, as well as making it available on Spotify. This audio file will involve diverse voices and stories around recovery to provide support to people with eating disorders. The applicants will work with Joshua Knowles to produce an animated video which shares self-care tips for people with binge eating disorder. We will co-produce the scripts for these two tools with our PPI Lead, Anny and with four people with lived experience of eating disorders or of caring for a loved one with an eating disorder.

Unreal: An exploration of Depersonalisation and Derealisation Disorder through lived experience and creative expression

Lead Applicant: Elaine Hunter, Division of Psychiatry 

Depersonalisation and Derealisation Disorder (DPRD) is a mental health condition that affects 1% of the population but is underdiagnosed and under-researched. Greater awareness is needed within both public and research communities. Our proposal is for an art-based event led by people with lived experience of DPRD to demonstrate how art can be used for communicating lived-experience via different media. We have a range of artists who depict DPRD via dance, visual arts, music, written word. We want to invite a range of academics from different disciplines to attend this event to get them interested in researching DPRD and enable conversations between researchers and those with the condition. The activity will be delivered in partnership with Unreal, the UK’s only registered charity specifically for DPRD. All the contributors and co-applicants are people with lived experience of DPRD, involved with the charity, or people who have conducted research in DPRD.

The half-day event will include a physical exhibition of creative artwork and research presentations at a creative venue. This exhibition will be our backdrop for a programme of live performances and discussions. Videocult (a London based media company) will film the event and photograph the exhibition, an edit will be shared as a YouTube Premiere: creating a second ‘event’ with a global reach, where viewers can chat in real time with those involved. After the premiere, the video will be archived publicly on YouTube. A Multidisciplinary Symposium for DPRD is set to take place in London 2023. We aim to host our event at the same time and invite the attending academics and researchers, offering another platform to share their research. They will be able to contribute questions to a pioneering panel, where academics will pose the questions to those with lived experience, in a safe and moderated discussion.

Getting the message out there: Co-produced dissemination of mental health research in intellectual disability

Lead applicant: Vaso Totsika, Division of Psychiatry

People with an intellectual disability (learning disability in the UK) experience many mental health inequities: they experience a much higher rate of mental health problems than people without an intellectual disability and they are less likely to get good support when they need it. These difficulties are not just because people have an intellectual disability; many of the reasons have to do with the fact that people with an intellectual disability tend to be poor, stigmatised and marginalised. One of the reasons for mental health inequities is that people with an intellectual disability are often excluded from research. This exclusion is seen at all stages of research, from design to dissemination. The aim of the present project is to disseminate research about mental health in intellectual disability collaboratively with people with an intellectual disability.

We propose two main activities:

  • Develop two videos. Each video will summarise a study about the mental health of people with an intellectual disability. The person presenting the study will be a person with an intellectual disability.
  • Share these videos with many people, especially those that need to hear the messages of the research.

For the videos, we will select published mental health research that we think is important and timely. We will then work with a Mencap consultant with an intellectual disability to translate the research into a more accessible format. We will engage the services of a videographer to video the presentation. For the media campaign, we will employ the services of communication experts who will work with us to identify which groups of people we want our videos to reach. We will pull together information to understand how widely the videos were viewed and how people used them. We will discuss with those involved in academic publishing how likely they are to make more videos like this in the future.