We are involved in a number of key initiatives through which we aim to offer the public psychologically-informed thinking about mental health and related areas.
There is a lack of information, based on scholarship, available to the public about mental health and related areas. Debates about these issues often take place within services or the 'ivory towers' of academia. Policymakers, journalists and those most affected (namely service users) rarely have access to the debates either as consumers or participants.
With this in mind, we are involved in several high profile public engagement activities, with the aim of making scholarship available to stakeholders, and engaging them in relevant debates.
What we do
We are currently involved in three major initiatives. The first two are national reports commissioned from the Institute by the British Psychological Society. Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia aimed to summarise for a general audience, current thinking about the nature and treatment of psychosis. It was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and All In The Mind, and has been widely discussed internationally, including in the New York Times. Meanwhile, Understanding Depression (currently a work in progress) aims to do the same for depression. Both reports are aimed at journalists, policy makers and the public, including service users and carers, and draw upon the latest research in the field.
Finally, the third initiative we are involved with is our rapidly developing departmental blog site, Discursive of Tunbridge Wells, which has a large and international following. In this blog we aim to open up debates about health and healthcare, particularly mental health. Contributors include staff, students, guest lecturers and mental health service users, as well as eminent academics. More recently we’ve started a semi-regular podcast where a panel discuss issues related to mental health and wellbeing. Recent issues have focused on the effects of poverty, compulsory detention in the mental health system and developments in suicide prevention policy.
In addition to the above, we also regularly engage with local and national media. We have written articles published in The Guardian and other news outlets, and regularly appear on national radio. A selection of our recent articles and appearances can be found below:
Anne Cooke and John McGowan tour the UK with their public 'pub talk' Is Life a Disease? You can find out more about this talk, and watch the presentation via our blog Discursive of Tunbridge Wells.