New funding & vacancy to grow South West mental health equity research

New funding & vacancy to grow South West mental health equity research

The South West Academic Health Science Network (South West AHSN) is working in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) to grow mental health research in the South West, after new funding has been awarded to meet a growing need for high-quality research in mental health in the South West. The funding is supporting the appointment of a new Applied Mental Health Research & Service Improvement Lead for the region.  

Mental health problems are the single largest cause of disability in the UK and represent an ever-increasing challenge to health and social care, and to the wellbeing of populations. 

In the South West (Cornwall, Devon and Somerset), many mental health outcomes are poorer than the national average – a reflection of coastal towns and cities, and rural areas, across the region with poor health outcomes, as cited in the Chief Medical Officer’s 2021 report on health in coastal communities.  

The NIHR has awarded PenARC £750,000 to grow high-quality mental health research in the South West and help tackle this challenge. The funding has been awarded as part of the new £30 million Mental Health Research Initiative launched by the NIHR and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to help tackle the existing gap between local needs and mental health research activity. 

The South West AHSN, alongside the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, and partners from across the NHS, local authorities, and public health, supported PenARC to submit an application to develop local capability and capacity for mental health research whilst ensuring the research takes place within the communities which will benefit most. The NIHR awarded PenARC £750,000, the maximum funding available. 

Together, the South West AHSN and PenARC are now recruiting for an Applied Mental Health Research & Service Improvement Lead to help bridge the gap between new health equity focused mental health research and implementation.  

The role will work alongside our Innovation Exchange and new Children & Young People’s Mental Health Equity Programme, which is seeking to identify and spread innovative practice that helps close health equity gaps in access to care, quality of care, opportunity for a healthy life an agency in managing individual health.  

It is hoped the appointed Lead will successfully engage user groups, public collaborators and service partners with what are the most pressing mental health issues they are facing in the South West, support research that addresses these issues in underserved geographies or populations, and feed back into the system to enact positive change.  

Anna Johnson, Partnerships Director at the South West AHSN, said: “This role offers a unique opportunity to address mental health research and care in the South West, where there is strong evidence to support the need for improvement, particularly for children and young people.  

“The funding from NIHR offers the welcome opportunity to strengthen the existing collaboration between ourselves and PenARC, as well as our partners across local health and care services, universities and third sector, as part of a joint new research, innovation and service improvement pipeline.” 

 To find out more about the role and how to apply please visit our Careers page.  

The South West AHSN is working to tackle health equity to improve population health across the South West through two new programmes: Children & Young People’s Mental Health Equity Programme and a Perinatal Health Equity Programme. Learn more.   

 

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