November 23rd, 2020

// Overseas aid projects will be used to shine a light on mental health‘Mainstreaming global mental health’ project aims to get the world talking… and smiling

Overseas aid projects will be used to shine a light on mental health‘Mainstreaming global mental health’ project aims to get the world talking... and smiling
23 November 2020 
Overseas aid projects could be used as a kind of Trojan horse to improve people's mental health.A new project, dubbed 'Mainstreaming global mental health’ has just won approval as part of a £147m funding pledge from UKRI for 141 projects.Examples of existing overseas aid projects include things like planning for earthquakes and monsoons in Nepal, creating sustainable energy systems across Latin America and creating circular economies in Africa.The Mainstreaming Global Mental Health project, which is supported by academics from the University of Bradford, aims to tap into such projects and enhance their mental health message.Karina Croucher, senior lecturer in the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, said: “Many overseas projects already have a positive effect on mental health, simply by bringing people together. What we want to do is make the mental health aspect more tangible and explicit.“In doing this, we aim to foster a sense of empowerment, self-worth and purpose in places where talking about mental health is not seen as a priority and in some cases is even repressed. Poor mental health brought on by myriad situations can lead to violence, conflict, depression and even death.“We know that people who are in a better state of mind are more productive, so this is about raising awareness, opening up and having those conversations.”Archaeology and Forensic Science lecturer Dr Adrian Evans added: "Research that engages communities can be effective in many ways. We aim to help researchers build activities into projects that can go beyond the basic, and embed wellbeing activities as a normal aspect of community faced practice." The money from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is part of its Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme. Project lead, Professor Anna Madill, from the University of Leeds, said: “Our ambition is to trigger a step-change in how the research community thinks about where, how and by whom mental health can be impacted, raising awareness that researchers may be missing ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunities, and explaining ways that diverse projects could achieve mental health impact as part of their routine activities without overstretching expertise or resources.”For more information about the latest funding round, see the UKRI web article.Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is one of the University of Bradford’s core strategies and sits at the heart of everything we do, with an emphasis on developing mechanisms to support staff and students in a culturally safe environment. This project shows evidence of that approach in action and how our own initiatives impact on our wider work.Meanwhile, the next Bradford Café Scientifique event, Building Community Resilience Through Heritage on Thursday December 10 (6.30pm-8pm) will see Dr Adrian Evans and Karina Croucher discuss how their work on various heritage-based projects, including one which uses VR to recreate historical sites, has had a positive impact on deprived overseas communities. Book tickets in advance here.
Images: 1) Karina Croucher, senior lecturer in the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences. Credit: University of Bradford 2) UKRI logo. Credit: UKRIAdditional informationUK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £8 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. www.ukri.orgGCRF is a £1.5 billion fund supporting cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues faced by developing countries, and forms part of the UK Government’s ODA commitment.It harnesses the strengths of the UK’s world-leading researchers enabling them to collaborate with experts in developing countries through equitable partnerships. GCRF focuses on funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capability for research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research or on-the-ground need. The fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered through nine partners.Academics involved in the Mainstreaming Mental Health Project are:-Professor Jane Plastow University of LeedsProfessor Paul Cooke University of LeedsDr Rebecca King University of LeedsDr Siobhan Hugh- Jones University of LeedsProfessor Tolib Mirzoev University of LeedsDr Erminia Colucci Middlesex UniversityDr Rebecca Graber University of BrightonProfessor Stuart Taberner University of LeedsDr Karina Croucher University of BradfordDr Adrian Evans University of BradfordProfessor Raghu Raghavan De Montfort UniversityProfessor Brian Brown De Montfort University


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