Mental Health Research UK awards four new PhD scholarships
  •  Mental Health Research UK, the first charity dedicated to supporting mental health research in the UK, has awarded four new PhD scholarships
  • Students will focus on areas including suicide prevention, psychosis, and optimising outcomes in children of depressed parents 
  • Charity also awards an MD (Res) scholarship which will include trialling a new treatment 
Monday 4 November, 2019

Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK), the first charity dedicated to supporting mental health research in the UK, has awarded four new PhD scholarships and one MD (Res) scholarship.

The PhD research will focus on areas including suicide prevention, psychosis, and optimising outcomes in children of depressed parents.

The scholarships are as follows:

PhD Scholarship in Children and Young People’s Mental Health 2020

Professor Stephan Collishaw, Dr Frances Rice and Dr Gemma Hammerton at the University of Cardiff: “Optimising outcomes in children of depressed parents: Identification of modifiable promoters of sustained mental health resilience.”

John Grace QC PhD Scholarship 2020

Dr Gemma Modinos and Professor Philip McGuire at Kings College, London: “Neural mechanisms of positive symptoms in first-episode and prodromal psychosis.”

Mark Robertson MRCVS PhD Scholarship 2020

Dr Sarah Peters, Dr Patricia Gooding and Dr Donna Littlewood at the University of Manchester: “Developing stakeholder-informed guidelines for acceptable and safe research into suicide.”

MHRUK PhD Scholarship 2020

Professor Ellen Townsend at the University of Nottingham: “Understanding pathways to self-harm and suicide ideation in high risk young people: an unmissable opportunity for suicide prevention.”

The charity has also awarded a second MD (Res) scholarship to Cate Bailey at Kings College London. Her research on physical clinical symptoms with no explained physical cause will include trialling a new treatment.

Professor Sir Mike Owen, Chair of the awards panel, commented: “I’m delighted to award PhD scholarships to these four students and a further MD (Res) scholarship. Their research makes an invaluable contribution to the broader quest to improve our understanding of mental health research and develop reliable and effective treatments.”

Clair Chilvers, Chair of MHRUK, added: “We are proud of our record in funding scholarships for PhD students and hence helping to build expertise in mental health research in the UK. Mental health research is poorly funded compared to cancer and other chronic diseases. We must do more to raise funds for this crucial research. Thank you to all our supporters who have made these scholarships possible – 95% of all our donations go directly to research.”

Commenting on their scholarship, Professor Stephan Collishaw, University of Cardiff, said: “We are delighted that MHRUK will support a new scholarship examining mental health resilience in children of depressed parents. Over 1 million children in the UK live with a parent with depression. These children have a high risk of mental health problems as they grow up. Identifying protective factors that promote resilience will help optimise long-term mental health outcomes.”

Commenting on their scholarship, Dr Sarah Peters, University of Manchester, said: “We are so delighted to receive the support of MHRUK for this study to discover the safest ways to research suicidal thoughts and behaviours. This study will be the first attempt to ask people about their experience of taking part in different types of suicide research. The findings will enable us to make recommendations for researchers about how to study suicide, in ways that people with lived experience find acceptable and that is safe.”

Founded in 2008, MHRUK has funded a total of 19 PhDs over the last 10 years. Their research makes a vital contribution to our understanding of mental illness and the development of better treatments with fewer side effects.

Note to editors

Mental Health Research UK

Mental Health Research UK was established in 2008 as the UK's first charity dedicated to funding research into mental illness in order to develop better treatments with fewer side-effects. The Trustees continue to work with passion for the charity pro bono whilst in full time jobs. Mental Health Research UK pledges to give no less than 95% of all donations received to research, and to monitor its overheads and expenses very closely and with transparency, recognising that this is extremely important to donors.