SASH paper on social media has won an ACAMH award

Dr Lizzy Winstone’s paper ‘Adolescent social media user types and their mental health and well-being, results from a longitudinal survey of 13 to 14-year-olds in the United Kingdom’ has won the ‘JCPP Advances Best Paper of the Year Award’ at the 2023 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) awards

Lizzy’s paper is the first to identify social media user types in early adolescence in terms of proclivity for different online activities. It contributes valuable new knowledge to the field and has important implications for adolescent mental health. You can access the paper here

Successful grant application

Congratulations to Jacks Bennett, Lizzy Winstone, and Nina Di Cara who have been awarded an Enhancing Research Culture grant by Research England. They will be surveying UK-wide academic mental health researchers to develop recommendations for mental health support that addresses challenges arising from exposure to distressing research material, such as self-harm and suicide.

Engaging Young People in Conversations Exploring the Impact of Their Online Use on Mental Health

Dr Zoë Haime has written a blog post for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH). Zoë’s blog focuses on what University of Bristol research has taught us about talking to young people about their online use and mental health. She also highlights some ongoing research – the ‘digital dialogues’ project, led by Dr Lucy Biddle, which aims to identity knowledge gaps, and co-create training and resources to help mental health practitioners have these conversations with young people

Zoë says “Recently, The Royal College of the Psychiatrists in the UK advised that social media and online use should be considered in assessing risk of all young people they meet (RCPsych Report CR225, 2020). However, it is currently unclear whether this advice has been implemented in practice. Additionally, there is little evidence of guidance on how to approach these conversations with young people, or of similar direction for other mental health practitioners, teachers or parents.”

Click here to read the full ACAMH blog post

Click here for further information and guidance on how to talk about mental health and digital technology with young people

New sector guidance on measuring student mental health

Despite growing numbers of university students reporting mental health challenges during their studies, there is still limited longitudinal data concerned with student wellbeing in the UK. SASH members Drs Jacks Bennett and Myles Jay Linton have been involved in a SMARTEN funded project developing sector guidance for universities looking to develop cohort studies.  See the research behind this new national ‘toolkit’ of standardised measures here

Visit from Dr Nanette Lee Mayol

We were delighted to host Dr Nanette Lee Mayol who is the Director and a Research Fellow of the USC-Office of Population Studies Foundation, Inc., University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Philippines. Nanette is a GW4 co-supervisor for SASH member Lucy Barrass. Nanette met with several members of the team and we’re excited to be exploring potential opportunities for future collaborations using the rich longitudinal data that her team collects.

ESRC Fellowship awarded to Dr Jacks Bennett

Dr Jacks Bennett has been awarded an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship to continue her work focused on student mental health and wellbeing in university settings. The year-long post which starts in October 2023 will allow her to build on her doctoral research evaluating the impact of new wellbeing support provision at a UK university – one of the first health studies of its kind in higher education. Jacks aims to extend that research to examine the links between differing demographics and social factors for student mental health and academic outcomes. The fellowship means Jacks can also strengthen existing collaborations with SMARTEN researchers working in the student wellbeing field, building on the mental health measurement work already underway.

Churchill Foundation Fellowship awarded to Dr Lizzy Winstone

Dr Lizzy Winstone has been awarded a Fellowship from the Churchill Foundation to continue her work on the relationship between social media and mental health. Lizzy’s fellowship will focus on improving teaching of social media algorithmic literacy in UK schools in order to reduce exposure to harmful (self-harm and suicide-related) social media content. During this 6-week project, she will meet with and interview international experts in social media algorithmic literacy and media literacy education from several countries, to learn from best practice overseas and influence change in the UK

New SASH member: Bruna Rubbo

Bruna Rubbo joined the University of Bristol as a Research Fellow funded by the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention at the University of Edinburgh. She obtained a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton in 2020, where she continued to work as a research fellow before relocating to the University of Southern California for a postdoctoral scholarship investigating the effects of pesticide exposure on weight loss in obese adolescents.

Bruna is now working on multiple projects focused on the effects of changes in pesticide regulation and national bans on the overall and pesticide suicide rates in low- and middle-income countries. She was particularly interested in this line of research as “having previously conducted research that had potential clinical applications, this position provides me the unique opportunity to contribute to epidemiological studies that, in addition to clinical impact, also have direct policy implications, and these could lead to the prevention of numerous suicides worldwide.”

New paper: Childhood predictors of self-harm, externalised violence and transitioning to dual harm in a cohort of adolescents and young adults

This study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine investigated the overlap between self-harm and violence towards others at ages 16 and 22 years, and identified associated risk factors. The study included information from over 4,000 participants from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).  At age 16 years, 18.1% of the 4176 cohort members had harmed themselves, 21.1% had engaged in violence towards others and 3.7% reported dual harm. Prevalence of dual harm doubled from age 16 to 22 years, highlighting the importance of early identification and intervention during this high-risk period. Depression and other mental health difficulties, drug and alcohol use, witnessing self-harm and being a victim of, or witnessing, violence were associated with higher risks of transitioning from self-harm or violence at age 16 to dual harm by age 22.

You can access the full paper here

Steeg S, Farooq B, Taylor P, Shafti M, Mars B, Kapur N, Webb RT. Childhood predictors of self-harm, externalised violence and transitioning to dual harm in a cohort of adolescents and young adults. Psychol Med. 2023 Mar 31:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291723000557.