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The Global Mental Health Databank, a feasibility study, hopes to enable youth from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India to work directly with mental health researchers to better understand how young people can manage their own mental health.

Sage Bionetworks is leading an international group of researchers from Oxford University, University of Cambridge, University of Washington, Walter Sisulu University, Higher Health, and the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy at the Indian Law Society in this effort to shift how a mental health databank could be developed and structured.

This project is funded by the mental health area team at the Wellcome Trust as key infrastructure necessary to enable their work to identify the next generation of treatments and approaches to prevent, intervene, manage and stop relapse of anxiety and depression in young people.

Relying on mobile phones and other connected technologies, the study will collect data from youth participants about their lived experience with mental health self-management. Collecting such data, which requires a strong partnership between youth and researchers, will provide insight about how a person’s daily activities and surroundings affect their health and the success of their health-management strategies. For example, can changes in sleep habits, social interactions or financial security help mitigate anxiety?

Associate Professor Mina Fazel, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said,

 

We at Oxford are delighted to be coordinating the UK arm of this important study, working with Professor Tamsin Ford at the University of Cambridge and colleagues in India, South Africa and the USA. This study will be addressing a key question in the development of big data resources for mental health: how to make these platforms acceptable to young people. We are embedding the youth voice firmly in all aspects of the work and are currently recruiting for a youth advisor to become a core part of our study team.

'We look forward to rich learning as to how to balance the best ways to ensure those banking their data have maximal control and privacy, with the wish to allow diverse scientists to have ready access to data to advance understanding of the active ingredients that help address youth anxiety and depression globally,' said Professor Miranda Wolpert, MBE Head of the Mental Health Priority Area at Wellcome.

To read the full press release.

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