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Liverpool partners in £4M mental health research hub

The University of Liverpool is part of a new £4 million research hub to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and support for people experiencing severe mental illness (SMI).

Led by Queen Mary University of London, the new hub aims to generate new knowledge on the role of social determinants (the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age) in influencing the course and outcomes of SMIs and explore how ‘protective’ social factors can be used to build resilience and recovery in people with SMIs.

Professor Francisco Rowe, from the University’s Department of Geography & Planning, specialises in population data science and heads up the University’s Geographic Data Science Lab.

He will lead the first of the hub’s three workstreams which aims to develop a better understand how key features of the social environment in which people live, such as air and noise pollution may trigger certain, mitigate or reinforce mental health conditions over time.

Professor Rowe said:

“A key task to develop this workstream is to use geographic data science to develop statistical indicators that capture these features of the social environment.

“We hope that by building a more comprehensive understanding as to how structural determinants influence mental health, we will be able to advise on the development of effective medical interventions.”

The research hub also involves King’s College London; City, University of London; Brunel University of London; Warwick Medical School; University of Newcastle; and the University of Plymouth.

Supported by the Medical Research Council, the hub is one of five research centres that aim to tackle key challenges in severe mental illness by bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines and institutions.