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NRS Mental Health Research Champion celebrated

NRS Mental Health Research Champion celebrated

28th March 2019

An outstanding leader and passionate advocate – NRS Mental Health bid farewell to Professor Stephen Lawrie after 10 years of leading mental health research in Scotland.

Professor Stephen Lawrie will step down from the post at the end of March with Professor Andrew Gumley Professor of Psychological Therapy at the University of Glasgow appointed as Interim Research Champion.

Mental Health is one of the major public health challenges in Scotland. Around one in four people are estimated to be affected by mental ill-health in any one year. NRS Mental Health provides support to improve the quality and quantity of research and promote excellence in mental health clinical research in Scotland. A wide portfolio of studies include imaging, psychosocial, genetic, multi-centre clinical trials, and e-health research.

In his 10 years leading NRS Mental Health, formerly known as the Scottish Mental Health Research Network, Professor Lawrie has played an active role in broadening the scope of clinical research taking place across areas such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, depression, addictions and psychosis. He has increased the portfolio and the number of people participating in mental health research across Scotland.

Of his time with NRS Mental Health, Professor Lawrie said: “During these 10 years we have managed to increase the amount of studies and people taking part in them across Scotland. This work culminated in three separate clinical trial reports in Lancet Psychiatry in 2017/18, and I am particularly pleased that we have managed to build very good collaborative relationships with people who have lived experience of major mental illnesses, their carers and representatives. I think this bodes very well for the future success of the network.”

Taking over as Interim Research Champion Andrew Gumley is Professor of Psychological Therapy at the University of Glasgow and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

Professor Gumley’s own research includes clinical trials of psychological therapies for people with psychosis including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Compassion Focussed Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. His research includes identifying mechanisms of recovery and relapse to inform the development of new approaches to empower people with psychosis, as well as evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of early intervention for psychosis. He leads the design, piloting and evaluation of Digital Health Technologies to support recovery and staying well after psychosis and works closely with NHS Education for Scotland to support training and dissemination in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis and implementation of staying well plans in community mental health services; and with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to implement early intervention for psychosis services across Scotland.

Reflecting on Professor Lawrie’s tenure, Professor Gumley said: “Stephen has been an outstanding Lead for NRS Mental Health since 2009. During his time as Research Champion, mental health research activity and the number of people participating in research has increased. The Network has been at the heart of supporting mental health research activity, and Stephen has been a passionate advocate for increased funding for mental health research and greater diversity of involvement of people in contributing to and participating in mental health research right across Scotland.”

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