Scholars' Day 2020
Most of the times I have been to Wales, it was for climbing at Rhossili Beach or hiking in Snowdonia — I would never stop at the bigger cities. My visit to the Mental Health Research UK Scholars’ Day on March 3, 2020 in Cardiff was exciting in different ways.
This was my fourth year attending the Scholars’ Day and it has been great to see the group developing over the years. Meeting everyone who is involved in supporting and organising Mental Health Research UK has always been a unique experience. The day was full of interesting research discussions and moving conversations about personal experiences that highlighted why it is so important to improve our understanding of mental health.
Students shared a range of projects looking at mental health from different perspectives in short presentations and posters throughout the day. For example, Niamh MacSweeney explores the biological, psychological, and social factors of adolescents who experience depression while Taryn Hutchinson is developing interventions for adolescents to promote better functioning and wellbeing. Alexandra Schmidt, on the other hand, is investigating the development and treatment of common mental disorders in older people to improve their quality of life. Exciting qualitative work by Nuala Kane is exploring the link between legal and clinical practice in difficult capacity assessment cases. Jessica Radley presented impressive work using qualitative and experience sampling methods to investigate the relationship between parenting and psychosis. For me it was exciting to see how projects from the previous years had come together and to learn about the research of new scholars. The warm and encouraging atmosphere at the Mental Health Research UK Scholars’ Day is a great example of a creative research environment that is supportive and inclusive — something that is unfortunately currently missing in too many places of academia and needs to change!
Thanks to Mental Health Research UK, especially Clair Chilvers and David Riggs, we were all brought together and this valuable exchange between supporters and researchers was made possible. I left Cardiff with many valuable experiences, a bag full of Welsh Cakes, and many pictures of red dragons — it was a great day!