Category: Brain and mental health

What’s co-production in research?

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: a group of researchers are working on novel ways to detect early warning signs that a patient’s condition is getting worse. They think a wearable device that automatically alerts both patients and healthcare professionals to potential problems would be an innovative solution to enable earlier detection.

So the team members put their heads together and come up with a new wearable sensor that they think would greatly benefit patients and professionals alike. But when they test it with patients for the first time, they don’t get the feedback they’d hoped for. Users find it awkward, difficult to set up, clunky and uncomfortable.

A Shout out for mental health

By Dr Emma Lawrance, Mental Health Innovations Fellow

These are hyper-connected times. We’re told we can get what we want – from dinner to a date – at the tap of a phone screen. And yet, even with the world seemingly at our fingertips, when we are in an emotional crisis or struggling with our mental health, it can be hard to know where to go. And hard to know what to say, when one of our loved ones is brave enough to express what’s truly on their mind.

Let’s talk about young people’s mental health

By Dr Lindsay H Dewa, Research Associate, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken”. C.S. Lewis

My one WISH this Christmas – ending the stigma around mental health

It’s December, sweaters brandishing pompoms and sparkles are being obnoxiously paraded around offices, the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts oozes from street corners, and that nostalgic Coca-Cola advert is back on television. These can only mean one thing: Christmas is just around the corner.

For many of us, this is an exciting and eagerly-awaited time of year that brings happiness, closeness and reconciliation. While for others, the festive season and the stresses and strains that accompany it is a recipe for mental ill health, and can exacerbate conditions such as anxiety and depression.

So as feelings and festivities grow, we can use this time as an opportunity to reflect, consider others and think about what needs to be done to improve mental wellbeing.

The state of mental health in the UK: Where are we going wrong?

By Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations, Imperial College Business School  

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Every year on 10 October healthcare professionals, advocates, patients and other stakeholders come together to raise awareness of global mental health issues and encourage efforts in support of mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health has set this year’s theme as mental health inthe workplace.  

Peer-delivered mental health interventions – a pragmatic solution to scaling-up access to mental healthcare?

By Dr Kike Olajide, Wellcome Global Health Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Psychiatry, Imperial College London.

Globally, the number of people with depression and anxiety is on the rise – up from 416 million in 1990 to 615 million in 2013. The World Health Organisation estimates that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for over 15% of years lost due to disability (YLD). In addition to disability, common mental illnesses such as depression can lead to suicide. If you are aged 15 to 29 and living in Europe, the thing most likely to kill you, is you – suicide is the leading cause of death in this age group.

Ending the stigma this World Mental Health Day

By Dilkushi Poovendran, Research Assistant in Patient Experience and Patient Safety, Centre for Health Policy

The World Health Organisation recognises the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day.  The theme set for this year is on the delivery of psychological first aid, and the need to recognize and support individuals who are in distress.

At some point our lives, most of us will know someone experiencing a mental health issue or experience one ourselves, including stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement, or drug and alcohol problems. Yet the subject of mental illness continues to be taboo, and the stigma attached to it prevents many from speaking out and getting the attention that they need. 

A letter to…my buddy Sami*, who killed himself a year ago

The letter you always wanted to write…..

Anon

The day you killed yourself was a Wednesday and when my husband called to tell me I was at work.  I felt dizzy in the sunny and overheated hallway in the hospital where I work.  I sat down and cried right there, in the hallway on a radiator.  And I didn’t care that doctors, patients and colleagues were walking past me, looking away, probably feeling bad for me, but feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to help.

It couldn’t possibly have been you, I thought as I sat there.  You were so funny, so bubbly, so warm. 

IGHI Student Challenge Competition: Reducing the Forces in Brain Surgery using Smart Surgical Instruments

By the winners of the 2014 Student Challenges Competition, Christopher Payne and Hani Marcus 

Brain surgery is challenging surgery. When brain tissue is handled incorrectly, the consequences can be catastrophic. The manoeuvres in brain surgery require dexterity, precision and careful force application, but even the best surgeons have limits. We humans are imprecise and we make mistakes. Robots, on the other hand, can operate beyond the physiological limits of a human. This is a central concept to many surgical robots: the perfect fusion of human and machine.

In brain surgery, the NeuroArm is the finest example of the assistive surgical robot concept.