Mental health research can sometimes seem like an abstract idea. It can be hard to know exactly what mental health researchers are studying, and what it means for people with mental illness.
Here at MQ, we know how important it is for research to have an impact on real people’s lives. That's why we fund projects that improve the lives of people affected by mental illness. Here’s a look at what your donations supported in 2019, and what we learnt from research.
Developing a new treatment for worry and rumination in anxiety and depression
An intervention to reduce suicidal behaviour
At the moment hospitals have no evidence-based effective treatments to reduce the risk of suicide. This intervention aims to fill that gap. It has been tested in a three-phase feasibility study across four NHS Glasgow and Lothian hospitals, and the next step is to conduct a fully randomised controlled trial across different UK sites.
Identifying neural circuits involved in traumatic memories
Two-thirds of all people experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. That means traumatic memories are an issue for millions of people. In 2019, Professor Johannes Gräff completed his MQ-funded project looking at which brain cells and molecular mechanisms are involved in processing and recovering from long-lasting traumatic memories.
Based at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Johannes and his team successfully identified the cells responsible for traumatic memory attenuation in three different brain areas, generating for the first time ever a brain-wide map of areas that are actively involved in rewriting traumatic memories. This is an important step in learning how people can move past these memories.
Using group support therapy to treat depression in people living with HIV in Northern Uganda
Dr Ethel Nakimuli-Mpungu is an MQ Fellow based at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Uganda. In 2019 she completed a trial looking at group support therapy to treat depression in people living with HIV in northern Uganda.
The study looked at whether lay health workers could be trained to run group psychotherapy sessions to identify and respond to signs of depression while treating people with HIV, in some of the most remote communities in Uganda.
People living with HIV have high rates of depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress. If these problems don't get treated, they can have severe public health consequences, including continuing HIV transmission and worse HIV treatment outcomes.
This MQ-funded project has led to further funding from the US National Institute for Health (NIH) and Child Relief International Foundation, as well as an application to the Gates Foundation, to test the intervention across more countries and age groups. The future for this treatment looks very exciting – it could potentially be used to reduce mental health problems across the African continent, and also to reduce rates of HIV transmission
Help us fund more research that changes people's lives
Help us fund more research like this. With your support we can help improve the lives of people living with mental illness.
Last updated: 20 August 2020