November 2020 Newsletter

Dear <<First Name (required)>>

First of all, I hope that you are continuing to keep well in the COVID-19 pandemic. These are very uncertain times and many people’s mental health is being impacted by isolation, uncertainty and the financial consequences of measures to minimise the health impact.

I wanted to keep you up to date with where we are at MHRUK. First of all, the scholarship award procedure is complete and we are proud to announce the following winners, against very tough competition this year. We had 39 applicants for the four scholarships. Those that were shortlisted were sent to at least 3 academic peer reviewers and two service-user reviewers. We are most grateful to our reviewers, many of whom help us year after year. The Awards Panel led by Professor Sir Mike Owen then made the final decisions.

The 2021 PhD Scholarship awards are:
Eating Disorders
Dr Francesca Solmi University College London Exploring the causal role of emotion regulation, internalising and externalising symptoms in the aetiology of eating disorders: a triangulation approach using longitudinal general population, primary care, and genetic data
John Grace QC Scholarship (schizophrenia) Prof Paul Chadwick & Dr Pamela Jacobsen Bath University Feeling de-humanised by distressing psychotic voices: developing our understanding and psychological therapy
Fieldrose Trust Scholarship (genetics of schizophrenia)
Prof James Walters Cardiff University Integrating microarray and sequencing data to identify rare risk and protective genetic variants for schizophrenia
Psychological Trauma Scholarship Prof Andrea Danese King’s College London Understanding risk and building mental health resilience after childhood psychological trauma: focus on the subjective experience
I want to particularly thank volunteer Karen Tarn who has been the scholarships’ administrator for the past two years. She has done a great job. We welcome Dr Jyothika Kumar as the new volunteer scholarships’ administrator. Jyothika was one of our first MHRUK PhD Scholars.

Fundraising has suffered from the impact of COVID-19 but our regular fundraisers continue to find ways to raise funds for us. Action Challenge successfully held the Chiltern 50 Challenge in September and have published a series of events for 2021. Why not sign up here.

As I reported in the last newsletter we are specifically raising funds for a scholarship to research the mental health impacts of the pandemic. We have so far raised £31,283 so there is still another £88,717 needed for this.  Please help if you can and let us know if you have some innovative fundraising ideas. Our campaign page is on Virgin Money Giving.

Our existing PhD scholars continue to work from home but are all making good progress. We have been able to extend the period of study for some of the students by giving additional stipend.

On World Mental Health Day we were invited by James Dyson Foundation to do a couple of presentations to their staff. Trustee Vanessa Pinfold talked about keeping mentally healthy during the pandemic and Poppy Brown, one of our PhD Scholars talked about her virtual reality PhD project.
MHRUK Christmas card
Just a quick reminder that the deadline for ordering Christmas cards is November 10th. The order form is here.

It is very much business as usual for us though by zoom rather than face to face.

I want to take the opportunity to thank all our volunteers – David Riggs our Honorary Administrator ably helped by his wife Wendy, and Marion (management accounts), and Daisy (database administrator). We are still looking for a volunteer to help with the website. So if you know anyone who would like to help, or feel that you could offer some time, we would love to hear from you.

I would also like to thank Omar Kholeif our ambassador who is spreading the word about the COVID-19 scholarship and the actor Harry Lloyd who has recently joined us as a supporter, see his video

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Keep well.

Chair of Trustees
Copyright © 2020 Mental Health Research UK, All rights reserved.

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