The trust has partnered with researchers at the University of York to study the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on people with severe mental health illnesses.
The research project – Optimising Wellbeing in Self-isolation study (OWLS) – will explore how people with severe mental ill health experienced the pandemic restrictions and how they dealt with the social consequences of lockdown. It will also investigate the impact of coronavirus on their physical health.
The project has been awarded £195,000 by the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation and will be carried out by TEWV colleagues and researcher’s from York’s Mental Health and Addiction Research Group (MHARG).
The work will be led by Dr Emily Peckham, a researcher in MHARG. She said the research will start immediately and aims to deliver rapid insights to help some of the most vulnerable in society.
Professor Simon Gilbody, Director of MHARG said the University had studied the drivers of poor physical health and inequalities for people who use mental health services over a number of years. “While the NHS has been world-beating in using research to understand and mitigate COVID-19, people who use mental health services have not really been included. We are using our expertise to redress this balance.”
Professor Dave Ekers, Clinical Director of Research and Development at TEWV said: “The findings of the OWLs study will make timely recommendations about how best to support people with severe mental illness in the next stages of the pandemic.
“We are proud to work with Dr Peckham, Professor Gilbody and their team and will ensure people who use our NHS services are given the opportunity to be included in this groundbreaking study.”
Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York said anticipating the immediate and longer-term impacts of global pandemic is an area where universities and the NHS can show leadership. “York has always made an important contribution by ensuring the most vulnerable sections of society are included in research activity. I know that this partnership between people with lived experience, our local NHS partners and our team at the University of York is a strong one. I am delighted to hear that this research will be led from Yorkshire.”
Brent Kilmurray, TEWV Chief Executive added: “COVID-19 has had far reaching consequences for so many people and it is vital that we understand the impact it has had on people living with mental ill health and the interventions needed to further support them. The partnership between the Trust and The University of York is very important and the expertise of both organisation’s will provide valuable insights for national and international health care systems.”
The study is one of a number of projects in a 15-year research partnership between The University of York and TEWV, using the strengths of both institutions to create a transformed environment for mental health research.