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International university partnership to shape the future of mental health research

Mental health research and practice is to be strengthened through a partnership between the University of Strathclyde, the NHS and New York University (NYU).

09/08/23

International university partnership to shape the future of mental health research

The Mental Health Futures Collaborative (MHFC) has been established to strengthen partnerships within the University of Strathclyde and externally with the NHS, the third sector and international universities.

The partnership will have a focus on mental health research and knowledge exchange. MHFC is a strand of Health and Care Futures, which is led by Professor Roma Maguire, of Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

MHFC aims to strengthen evidence for the prevention of mental health problems and to advocate for policy change to address wider factors around the issue, as well as promoting and developing digital technology for use in mental health treatment.

MHFC will be informed by the mental health experience of individuals and will feature professionals from the private and public sector, the NHS, social care, occupational health and human resources, as well as student support services.

The concept of mental health being central to all health lies at the heart of the collaborative, which also has a significant focus on addressing health inequalities.

Dr Nicola Cogan, Senior Lecturer in Strathclyde’s Department of Psychological Sciences & Health, who is leading on the venture said that collaboration was a central tenet to the partnership.

“MHFC is an exciting opportunity to bring together academics, practitioners and professional services staff working in mental health within Strathclyde, as well as external stakeholders and international collaborators, to strength our collaborative partnerships and leadership in mental health research and knowledge exchange moving forward.”

Professor Victoria Stanhope, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at NYU Silver School of Social Work, said the unique partnership will help to provide researchers with different perspectives.

“We can draw important insights between some of the mental health challenges within our urban environment here in New York and those evident within Glasgow; we want to understand better ways to reduce mental health inequities.”

Strathclyde and NYU explored the opportunities for the coming decade at the recent Transatlantic Mental Health symposium at NYU, which also marked the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between the universities. The event also examined similarities between Glasgow and New York, including inequalities in urban environments.

Professor Neil Quinn, of Strathclyde’s Department of Social Work and Social Policy, said: “This symposium was a fantastic opportunity to build on the long-standing collaboration with NYU on mental health. Over the last 19 years, we have collaborated on research funding, publications, knowledge exchange, student summer schools and collaborative PhDs.

“I feel very excited about the potential for taking forward this collaboration as part of MHFC”.

Within MHFC, there is a strong focus on bringing together academics, mental health practitioners and policy makers to strengthen partnership working and have an impact on practice and policy developments.

One key area of focus is on improvements in public mental health. Honorary Professor Peter Byrne, of the Department of Psychological Sciences & Health, who has a leadership role in public mental health at Strathclyde, said: “You need to meet the people who run the programmes & the populations they serve. Through this group, I have seen fantastic public mental health work in the poorest parts of NYC and climbed up the steep learning curve for What Works with limited budgets. If the UK wants to reduce rising inequalities and worsening mental health, we need to discover and trial solutions from the US too.”

MHFC is a strand of Health and Care Futures, which is led by Professor Roma Maguire, of Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

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