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LSBU mental health research boosted by £200k grant

A grant has been awarded to an LSBU research group tasked with assessing the impact of mental health first aid on people experiencing distress in the workplace
14 February 2019

LSBU’s ‘Lived experiences of distress’ (LEOD) mental health research group has received (25 January) a £200k grant award from Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE) to boost research carried out by Professors Callaghan and Reavey, from the University’s School of Applied Sciences.

The grant amounts to three years’ research funding for the LEOD group to work with research partners at the Centre for Mental Health, from January 2019 to January 2021.

The aim of the study is to assess the impact of Mental Health First Aid on individuals experiencing psychological distress in the workplace. Researchers will work with trained employees over a number of different sites across Greater London, analysing the experiences of First Aiders tending to people in distress.  Ultimately, the project will look at the effect of these interventions - whether positive or negative - on the end-user.

Patrick Callaghan, LSBU’s Dean of Applied Sciences, said: “I am delighted that the Mental Health First Aid Association has awarded this pioneering project to LSBU after a rigorous and competitive selection process.

“The ‘Lived experiences’ project will allow us to add considerably to the growing evidence base documenting the effects of mental health first aid in the workplace. We will be approaching the research from the perspective of people using MHFA to support their mental health and wellbeing at work, the companies that provide MHFA, and the mental health first aiders themselves. My colleague, Professor Paula Reavey and I bring a wealth of experience in conducting similar studies and we look forward to renewing our acquaintance with Graham Duncan and colleagues at the Centre for Mental Health in bringing this research to fruition.”

Nicola Bourke, LSBU’s Business Development Support Manager said, “This grant award represents a major boost for LSBU’s School of Applied Sciences in the emerging field of examining mental health first aid in the workplace. The funding will help to support the valuable work being carried out by the ‘Lived experiences’ research group, while broadening their existing research portfolio. It’s so important for LSBU to be a part of this topical and emerging conversation about mental health first aid, now.”

As part of the School of Applied Sciences at LSBU, LEOD was established to research the lived experiences of mental distress, centring on how individuals manage, embody and live with mental health issues. An integral part of the research group’s work is the close examination of professional relationships between staff and service users. The team is engaged in a variety of diverse research projects across a number of NHS trusts and voluntary organisations, but this most recent grant will allow them to further their work in a wider range of community settings.

Research will run across three years, with interim reports published throughout this period.

Find out more about the work of LSBU’s Lived Experiences in Mental Health and Distress group.