brain with illustrated networks

Eight new networks designed to broaden mental health research have been announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today, and Institute of Mental Health experts will be contributing to three of the new studies.

The networks cover a diverse range of topics, such as exploring the impact of loneliness and social isolation on mental health, improving the life expectancy of people with severe mental ill health and promoting young people's mental health in a digital world. They will bring together experts from different fields from the arts, humanities and sciences to build capacity and lay the foundations for new, multidisciplinary approaches to mental health research.

Four leading academics from the Institute of Mental Health will be contributing to three of the new research networks:

  • Professor Paul Crawford is Co-Investigator on “MARCH: Social, Cultural and Community Assets for Mental Health”¹
  • Professor Chris Hollis and Dr Elvira Perez Vallejos are Co-Investigators on “The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People's Mental Health in a Digital World”²
  • Dr Jen Martin is Co-Investigator on “Emerging Minds: Action for Child Mental Health”³

The networks represent a total £8 million investment of public money over four years from across the research councils and will embrace insight from charity workers, health professionals and people with lived experience of mental health issues.

The network funding call was the result of the Cross-disciplinary Mental Health Research Agenda 2017, developed jointly by the UK research councils, which pinpointed areas where researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds might work together to accelerate progress in mental health research.

Research network details:

1.     MARCH: Social, Cultural and Community Assets for Mental Health

Community assets such as the arts, heritage sites, libraries, parks, allotments, volunteer associations and community groups can play a huge role in building resilient individuals and communities. The MARCH network will bring researchers together with policymakers, commissioners and third-sector organisations to further understand how these social, cultural and community assets can enhance public mental health and wellbeing, prevent mental illness and support those living with mental health conditions.

2.     The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People's Mental Health in a Digital World

How do we equip parents, teachers, practitioners, policy makers and young people with the information, support and resources they need to promote positive mental health in our modern digital age? This multidisciplinary e-Nurture network will explore how the digital environment has changed the ways in which children experience and interact with their family, school and peers, and what effect this has on their mental health.

3.     Emerging Minds: Action for Child Mental Health

Approximately one in ten children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem. Research has shown that there are clear indicators that predict the emergence of these conditions in children, but despite this only a small minority of children receive effective support. This network will bring together academics from health research, arts, design, humanities and physical science disciplines in order to establish the best ways of helping children, young people and families benefit from mental health research.

For information about the other five networks visit: