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Sunday, 25 February

Mental Health Awareness Week - You're Wellcome

Wellcome (previously known as the Wellcome Trust) is a charity dedicated to research into health and wellness. It's commercial properties also boast wellbeing responsibilities to  people and the environment. As a huge supported and funder of Mental Health Awareness week, ThisWeekinFM reports on 6 projects the organisation is involved in.

 

Neuroscience and mental health

Wellcome is funding research projects in to mental health that look to identify new treatments. Ana Saraiva Ayash, Wellcome's Neuroscience and Mental Health Science Portfolio Adviser, and Andrew Welchman, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health, outline each of the projects.

MQ

MQ is a charity funding much-needed scientific research to transform the lives of people affected by mental illness. Wellcome gave £20 million of seed money to kickstart the charity in 2014 and it has been growing ever since. For Mental Health Awareness Week, MQ has launched its Dare to Swear campaign. 

 

 

Stratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally (STRADL)

This five-year longitudinal project is studying individuals who have known depression risk factors, such as a family history of low mood, early-life health problems or psychological trauma in childhood. The goal is to gain a better understanding of clinical depression to develop earlier, personalised and more effective treatments.

As an extension to the project, Wellcome recently funded a Seed Award to Stella Chan to identify vulnerability markers for adolescent depression.

 

Advancing cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders and PTSD

This project wants to make psychological treatments more effective and increase their availability.

With a focus on social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder, the team is developing internet-delivered versions of psychological treatments that require much less therapist-focused time.

The goal is to create an NHS database that will enable precise investigation of who responds to the treatments and why they work.

 

Neuroscience in Psychiatry Network (NSPN)

Funded in part through a Science Strategic Award, NSPN is a collaborative initiative between Cambridge and UCL to investigate how the adolescent mind and brain develops into early adulthood. Its first study is ‘U-Change’, a project aimed at characterising healthy brain development.

Recent research from the project has shown that human adolescence is a period associated with various structural changes in the brain.

 

My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD)

Adolescence is a vulnerable time for the onset of mental illness – 75% of mental disorders begin before the age of 24 and half by age 15. MYRIAD aims to promote good mental health and resilience, particularly in the crucial childhood and teenage years, by developing early interventions.

The project team is developing a schools programme based on mindfulness training and will train teachers to deliver a mindfulness-based curriculum. The goal is to help to inform future educational policy strategies.

 

Hellblade

Developed with money from what has now become the Wellcome Public Engagement Fund, Hellblade is a virtual game that follows the fictional life of Celtic warrior Senua. It uses its hero's journey as a way to explore mental health, with a particular focus on psychosis.

The game's developer has worked closely with Wellcome Investigator Paul Fletcher from the University of Cambridge, as well as consulting people with experience of mental health difficulties to ensure a sensitive and accurate portrayal of the subject.

Paul featured on the BBC Two Horizon documentary ‘Why did I go mad?’, exploring recent psychological and scientific insights into schizophrenia and psychosis.

Picture: What the Duck - Image with thanks to the Do You Dare to Swear Mental Health Fundraising Site

Article written by Ana Saraiva Ayash & Andrew Welchman

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