Transforming mental health throughout the life course #MQScienceMeeting 2019

Screenshot 2019-02-06 at 20.00.14

I’m in London today for the 2019 #MQScienceMeeting, which brings together “researchers across different disciplines to explore cutting-edge new ways to understand, treat and prevent mental illness.”

This annual event is organised by MQ Mental Health (2019 programme here) and I’m lucky to have covered the conference for the last few years with our #BeyondTheRoom live tweeting and podcasting service.

The main themes being explored this year through keynotes, symposia, talks, posters, panels and podcasts are:

  1. Loneliness & mental health: a two-way relationship?
  2. Tracking the life-long effects of mental illness
  3. Mind & matter: intersections of physical & mental health
  4. Tackling suicide & self-harm

As regular readers know only too well, we elves never miss a chance to highlight the latest evidence-based research, so our blog today is a whistle-stop tour of recent posts relevant to discussions at #MQScienceMeeting.

1. Loneliness and mental health: a two-way relationship?

Artists, musicians and film-makers have long been interested in loneliness and mental distress, but it’s only very recently that researchers and policy-makers have joined in. However, loneliness is an increasing public health concern that is largely ignored in mental health service delivery and policy. Chronic loneliness is experienced by approximately 10-15% of the general population across all ages, and feelings of loneliness are more prevalent among people with mental health problems than in the general population.

We’ve covered a fair bit of loneliness and mental health research over the last couple of years:

The Loneliness and Mental Health Symposium at #MQScienceMeeting features talks from Pamela Qualter, Luc Goossens, Timothy Matthews and Jude Stansfield, and there’s also a keynote from Sonia Johnson who heads-up the new Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health network. I recorded this podcast with Sonia in 2018 as she prepared for a WeMHNurses Tweet Chat on Loneliness, Social Isolation and Mental Health.

2. Tracking the life-long effects of mental illness

“Much of our scientific investigation of mental health challenges is based on limited ‘snapshots’. A longitudinal approach where we use multiple measurements of the same individual, allows us to study mental health changes within the same people over days, weeks or even years” – Rogier Kievet, #MQScienceMeeting speaker.

We have recently explored mental health trajectories in blogs about depression and neurodevelopment amongst other things:

The Tracking the Life-long Effects of Mental Illness Symposium at #MQScienceMeeting features talks from Bill Fulford, Rogier Kievit, Jessica Agnew-Blais and Philip Shaw.

I recorded this 2017 podcast with Prof Edmund Sonuga-Barke on the day his ERA study was published in The Lancet:

3. Mind and matter: intersections of physical & mental health

There is a real sense of cross-disciplinary action regarding the physical health of people living with severe mental illness. “About time!” I hear you cry, and you’d be spot on. We’ve known for a very long time that the life expectancy of people with schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar and other severe mental illnesses is 15-20 years shorter than the rest of the population, but this mortality gap has not been closed.

We’ve explored the intersections of physical and mental health far too many times to list here, but here are some of the key blogs from the last few years:

The Mind and Matter Symposium at #MQScienceMeeting features talks from Andrew Steptoe, Bridget Callaghan, Clare Llewellyn and Simon Gilbody.

I recorded this podcast with colleagues from the Equally Well Collaborative in the run-up to their launch in 2018:

4. Tackling suicide and self-harm

Suicide and self-harm has been a focus of our work here on the Mental Elf for many years, with many notable blogs. Here are three recent posts to get you started:

The Tackling Suicide and Self-Harm Symposium at #MQScienceMeeting features talks from Rory O’Connor, Becky Mars, Ellen Townsend and Reinhard Lindner.

I recorded this podcast interview with Rory O’Connor in 2018 as part of the #SeeingFurther Lancet Psychiatry Commission on the Future of Psychological Treatments:

Follow the #MQScienceMeeting online

As always, we’re providing a live stream of the goings-on at the conference. You can:

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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