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London’s biggest swearbox is here

This week, we’re taking our We Swear campaign to the street. Old Street, in East London to be precise.

For one week only, from Monday 2nd - Saturday 7th July, The MQ Swearbox - the biggest swearbox London has ever seen - is at Old Street Tube. It’s a potty-mouthed pop-up where the public can join us in swearing to take on mental illness through research. 

What the **** is happening there?

Open all day – come and join us morning, noon or night to:

  • See an exclusive exhibition of celeb photos featuring everyone from Gillian Anderson to Greg James getting sweary about the state of mental illness
  • See the powerful personal stories of MQ supporters showing why we urgently need more mental health research
  • Find out more about pioneering mental health research taking place in the UK
  • Hear short talks from the scientists swearing to take on mental illness 
  • Get stuck into some science with MQ's researchers

Short talks

The Mysterious Workings of the Teenage Brain
Monday 2nd July: 1pm. Emma Kilford

New technology has transformed our knowledge of what happens as teenagers’ brains grow. With most mental illnesses starting before the age of 18, that knowledge could be a very big deal indeed. Emma Kilford, from UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, asks if we could one day identify young people at risk of mental illness and take action before problems develop. 
Find out more & book your free tickets.

Preventing suicide: How researchers are tackling the crisis
Wednesday 4th July: 7pm. Professor Rory O’Connor

More than six thousand people take their own lives each year in the UK. In his myth-busting talk in the MQ Swear Box, Professor Rory O’Connor from Glasgow University will explore the factors that make people more likely to consider suicide – and show how research could hold the key to preventing suicide attempts.
Find out more & book your free tickets.

Using big data, flaws and all: How it can help your life 
Thursday 5thJuly: 1pm. Professor Miranda Wolpert

Big data can hold big answers. It’s accelerated our understanding of everything from cancer to diabetes, but its potential to push mental health forward hasn’t been realised – yet. Professor Miranda Wolpert is looking to change that. Come to the MQ Swear Box to hear why she believes big data could transform our understanding of young people’s mental health today – and transform how we offer support in the future.
Find out more & book your free tickets.

Can video games represent the experiences of mental illness?
Thursday 5thJuly: 7pm. Professor Paul Fletcher

Earlier this year, the video game Hellblade won five BAFTAs for its groundbreaking portrayal of mental illness. Psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Professor Paul Fletcher collaborated with developers and people with experience of mental illness to create a realistic depiction of psychosis within a video game. Now he’s coming to the MQ Swear Box, to explain how games and other interactive media have the power not only to raise awareness – but even to help develop new treatments for mental illness.
Find out more & book your free tickets.

An evening of words
Friday 6th July: 7pm. Charly Cox

Charly Cox is a poet, producer and author of ‘She Must Be Mad’. A proud ambassador of MQ, her writing focuses on her own experience of bipolar II disorder and destigmatising mental illness. Through her words and demands for better, she is determined to see change. End your week by catching some of Charly’s poetry live.
Find out more & book your free tickets.

Live science

Monday 2nd July: Afternoon

Is a racing heart causing you anxiety? Interoception is what helps us understand what’s going on inside our bodies – but misinterpreting the reasons for physical changes can leave us feeling anxious. Pop into our pop-up and try AIDE, a test used to help people with autism understand and manage their responses to unexpected physical changes.

Sensory toys
Wednesday 4th July: 10am – 4pm

How could sensory experiences like sound and touch link to mental health conditions like anxiety? Our scientists are exploring how playing with sensory toys affects the mental health of children with autism, who are particularly sensitive to these sensations. Awaken your senses and test your own response.

Eye tracking technology
Thursday 5th July: Morning

Could eye-tracking technology help prevent symptoms of ADHD developing in young children? MQ researchers are testing if this state-of-the-art approach could help improve concentration – so come along and focus your mind.

Virtual reality therapy
Thursday 5th July: Afternoon

Could virtual reality help people with schizophrenia? Experience this new technology, delivered through the lenses of virtual reality goggles, which researchers hope could lead to ground-breaking new treatments.  

Strawberry DNA
Friday 6th July: 10am - 12pm 

You’ve probably learned about DNA, but have you ever seen it? Have a go at extracting and observing DNA from strawberries in a matter of minutes using simple, household ingredients.

Let’s get quizzical
Friday 6th July: Afternoon

What can the flu tell us about causes of depression – and how can the immune system influence our brain and behaviour? Pop by and take a short quiz to find out more.

How do I find the MQ Swearbox?

Based inside Old Street station, within the tunnels before you enter the underground, you can pop in throughout the week.

The MQ Swearbox is where frustration about mental illness turns into fresh hope. It’s where profanity turns into progress.  

Together we can turn this into London’s most powerful pop-up, so join us and let’s swear to take on mental illness. 

Last updated: 2 July 2018

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