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IoMH International Conference. IoMH Symposium - Social Psychiatry: Black Mental Health. Awareness is just the start blog.
ISSUE 4 - Autumn Term 2020


UCL Institute of Mental Health newsletter

Our latest newsletter comes at what looks like the start of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the potential global health and economic crisis which comes could follow in its wake. Many commentators have warned of a mental health crisis too. The Institute of Mental Health has responded to some of these challenges. We have provided a forum in which leaders in mental health research at UCL can formulate plans and responses to the pandemic – both in terms of new research and clinical developments. Our review of the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric complications of coronaviruses published in the Lancet Psychiatry in July has already amassed over 250 citations according to Google Scholar.

The IoMH has also shown resilience and adaptability. We realised early on that our planned first international conference could not be held on the UCL campus but the virtual version went ahead in September, benefitting from increased accessibility to colleagues in Africa, North America and Scandinavia. Over 1300 people registered and the presentations are now available to delegates online. We have also forged ahead with our education programme of seminars and symposia and have completed another round of small grant and studentship awards. Six outstanding students are about to embark on the IoMH Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Programme plus a seventh student supported by IoMH partners at the Icahn School of Medicine, New York. Small grants totalling £25,000 were awarded in August for innovative projects on such topics as the effects of hearing problems on social isolation in the elderly in an era of video conferencing; computerised tests as predictors of treatment response in depression; and studying the social brain and paranoia in cyberspace.

We will continue to respond to events and opportunities in the coming year as best we can against the difficult backdrop. Our next Symposium, on Social Psychiatry and Black Mental Health (on 4th November) in collaboration with the UCL African Caribbean Society, promises to be one of our most exciting and informative.

One source of optimism as we head towards the end of 2020 is the agreement of a way forward to enhance joint clinical academic working with our nearest NHS mental health Trust, Camden and Islington. The redevelopment of the old St Pancras Hospital site and community hubs is still going ahead despite the slowdown on many such projects and the IoMH will be a part of this and play a key role in shaping it. This is all part of our commitment to first class facilities for care, research and education in mental health in our locality.

Prof Tony David
Thank you to those who joined the first IoMH International Conference on 9th September 2020. It was great to have over 900 people join us online, with great speakers discussing such a wide range of research in mental health. Registered attendees would have received a link to watch the recordings, or you can follow the link via Onedrive

We are excited to confirm that we will be hosting another international conference next year. 

Telemedicine may well outlast the pandemic, say mental health care staff

19th August 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about rapid innovation in mental health care, and the move to telemedicine is likely here to stay to at least some degree, but new research led by UCL and King’s College London cautions that serious barriers still need to be overcome.

PTSD may double risk of dementia

16th September 2020
People who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a new study by UCL researchers.

Hospitals miss mental illness diagnosis in more than a quarter of patients

17th September 2020
Severe mental illness diagnoses are missed by clinicians in more than one quarter of cases when people are hospitalised for other conditions, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

High COVID-19 rates in psychiatric hospitals highlight inequalities

6th October 2020
At least 38% of older adults in psychiatric wards in London were infected with COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.
IoMH Symposium - Social Psychiatry: Black Mental Health
Computational Psychiatry seminar series
2pm, 4th November 2020
This autumn term symposium will focus on black mental health. This will be delivered virtually via Zoom. Open to all interested clinicians, researchers and students across UCL, Camden & Islington NHS Trust and affiliated partners.
Every Thursday, 2pm-3pm
These talks are continuing virtually via Zoom and are organised by Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research. Please contact the centre to join the seminar mailing list
Neuroscience Early Career Prize Winners Showcase 2020
Evaluating the impact of public engagement
Tuesday 10th November, 10.30am-12.15pm
Registration is now open for the UCL Neuroscience Early Career Prize Winners Showcase 2020 on Tuesday 10th November. The 2020 winners of the Jon Driver Prize and UCL Neuroscience Early Career Prize will be presenting their prize winning research at this showcase event.
Tuesday 10th November, 2pm-3pm
Join the final UCL Public Engagement Seminar with speaker Jamie Gallagher, award-winning freelance communicator and engagement professional. Registration links are provided on InkPath. 
Repurposing TIN Seminar: Lessons learnt in drug repurposing
UCL Brain Cancer Seminar Series
Wednesday 11th November, 3pm
In the third webinar of this TIN series our speakers will discuss the challenges they faced during their drug repurposing journeys and what they could have done differently to facilitate the process, successfully bring the molecules to market and ultimately make the new usage of the compound possible.
Register to attend
Wednesday 9th December, 12pm-1pm
These seminars are being held virtually via Zoom and will be an opportunity to bring together the research community across UCL, NHS Trusts, and the Francis Crick Institute. The seminars will provide a platform for knowledge exchange and transfer to lead and support cutting-edge research in brain tumour biology, novel diagnostic methods, and new therapies, in our mission to cure brain cancer. Further dates for 2021 will be released. 

When Private Optimism meets Public Despair 

People adapt to threats like COVID-19 by maintaining postive and protective biases while reducing negative percemptions and emotions, writes PhD Student Laura K. Globig from the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL.

The academic conference: a Total Perspective Vortex with cappuccinos

Ahead of the first IoMH International Conference on 9th September, Prof Tony David interviewed the speakers on the virtual conferencing experience as well as the current mental health climate, in this latest blog.

Awareness is just the start

The 10th October 2020 was World Mental Health Day. Prof Tony David discusses the impact of awareness days whilst two IoMH advisory board members, Jackie Hardy and Jason Grant tell us about their lived experience and why they decided to get involved with mental health research and support. 
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