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£1 million boost announced to support Mental Health Research across Greater Manchester

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£1 million boost announced to support Mental Health Research across Greater Manchester

More than £1 million has been awarded to two Manchester based organisations funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to support mental health research across the region.


The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the NIHR have announced a rapid new Mental Health Research Initiative which has been announced to tackle the disparity between regional needs and mental health research activity. As part of this ourselves the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GM PSTRC), have been awarded funding.


The money will be used to support some existing research and fund new projects that aim to improve outcomes for people with mental ill health. This will benefit people who have harmed themselves, children and young people struggling with their mental health, and will aim to improve community engagement. The impact of COVID-19 will also be investigated.


Sue Wood, Head of NIHR ARC-GM, which has been awarded £750,000 by the initiative, said:


“NIHR ARC-GM is committed to supporting mental health research within Greater Manchester and we are excited about how this funding will enable further work and co-production with communities in order to provide actionable insights to improve mental health in the region.”


We will use the funding to support four projects:


  • Bee Well – this existing study is investigating the development of mental health and well-being in adolescents aged 12 to 15 across GM. The new funding will expand the analytical capacity to enable more actionable insights from the data.
  • The SUSTAIN study – a new research project to develop and test a behavioural intervention for people taking anti-psychotic medication, 80% of whom are known to gain weight very quickly, increasing risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. The intervention will be developed with service users and will aim to help them to manage the hunger caused by anti-psychotic medication. 
  • BEE-LINE (Behaviours, Experiences and Emotions– Living in Northern England) – a new study will examine the regional variation in the mental health consequences of COVID-19. Econometric methods will be used to identify factors that are protective for at-risk individuals so that these can be supported and promoted.
  • Public and Community Engagement (PCIE) – Increasing the capacity and ability of the region to deliver high quality research around children and young people’s mental health by boosting engagement via a community engagement festival. It will also support development of an app enabling GM residents to respond rapidly to mental health research ideas and to provide feedback on ongoing mental health research projects.   


Darren Ashcroft, Director of NIHR GM PSTRC that was awarded £300,000 through the NIHR Mental Health Research Initiative, said:


“We are delighted to have been awarded this additional funding. It will be used to conduct two key studies addressing priority questions for children and adolescent mental health services. They will complement our existing partnerships with mental health service providers in Greater Manchester.”


The funding will support the following two studies:


  • New smartphone app to support young people who have harmed themselves – a new study will pilot a theory-based intervention to reduce self-harm in adolescents who have presented at children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) following an initial episode of self-harm. 
  • Improving the safety of children and young people when their care is transferred from a hospital to primary/community care – a new study.  Previous research has highlighted the need for interventions to improve discharge planning and information flow between services. Researchers will develop an intervention with service users. 


Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said:


“This significant investment builds on the world-class research already taking place across the NIHR, increasing our capacity to undertake high quality mental health research across our programmes, infrastructure and schools.

“By supporting high quality mental health research in under-served areas of England and in groups where mental health problems are less well researched, we will make a difference to the communities and patients most affected by mental health issues.”


Find out more about our NIHR ARC-GM Mental Health research from here

Published 7th March 2022

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