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Ulster University wins funding to address health and social inequalities in Mental Health.

A new wave of research projects has been announced to investigate the role of community assets such as parks and galleries in improving health outcomes.

The projects are funded as part of the second phase of the £26 million, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Mobilising Community Assets to Tackle Health Inequalities investment.

This multi-year research programme is funded primarily by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and aims to use existing local resources to create a fairer and healthier society.

One of the successful projects in this round will be led by Professor Gerry Leavey, Director of the Bamford Centre, Ulster University. The project has received £250k for 9 months in preparation for large scale projects. The multidisciplinary project group has membership from the Royal College of Psychiatry, the PHA, NICVA, North-West Coalition, Inspire Wellbeing, Mindwise, Praxis, Belfast City Council, The MAC and QUB and UU. There is also an international advisory group from the school of Public Health in Jefferson University (Philadelphia).

Professor Leavey said, ‘This is a major opportunity to deal with the health and social inequalities experienced by people living with severe mental illness. We have known for some time that they die 15-25 years younger than the general population, from causes with modifiable risk factors. This grant provides us with an opportunity to bring together a community coalition of experts-by-experience, clinicians, academics, and service providers, to tackle social exclusion and poor health among this population. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council we aim to highlight the lived experience of service users and create innovative approaches to building better health.’

For more information see the UKRI website.