Loneliness and social isolation in mental health: proposal for a network for cross-disciplinary collaboration and capacity development

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Division of Psychiatry

Abstract

People are said to be lonely when they feel unpleasantly lacking in meaningful connections with other people. They are described as socially isolated when they have little social contact. Lonely people are more likely to be socially isolated, but the two do not always go together. Researchers have found that these states have significant impacts on physical and mental health. Some of this research is about loneliness and some about social isolation - we plan to look at both alongside each other, as it can be difficult to disentangle their effects. The strongest evidence is on the impact of loneliness on physical health. For example, people who are persistently lonely tend to die earlier and have more heart disease.

There is less research on loneliness and social isolation in mental health, but it's clear there are many links. For example, people who are lonely and/or socially isolated are more likely to become depressed, and depressed people who are lonely/lacking in social support recover less well than others. So by helping people to feel less lonely, some people could be prevented from developing mental health problems. Among people who already have mental health problems, strategies aimed at reducing loneliness and/or social isolation may help recovery. Some such strategies have been developed, for instance by charities. However, we don't yet have good evidence about how good these strategies are at reducing loneliness and social isolation, and about which are best for which people. We also don't know much about the extent to which they prevent people from developing mental health problems, or improve life for people who already have them.

Challenges in trying to improve this evidence are the many different influences on loneliness and social isolation. For instance, people's genetic make-up, the way they tend to think about other people, their caring responsibilities, their disabilities, the architecture and layout of the area they live in, and their income and education are just some of things that influence whether people become lonely or isolated. Possible ways of helping are also very varied. Talking treatments seem to help some lonely people. Other ways of helping include supporting people in rebuilding former relationships, or in getting involved in the arts, sport or religious practice. Digital ways of connecting may help some people. Another approach is to try to make a whole community, or even a country, friendlier and less divided.

No one is an expert in all fields relevant to loneliness and social isolation and their relationship to mental health, and that's why this call is a great opportunity for us to get together a network that includes many different kinds of relevant expert. We will hold a series of events where people bring together their expertise to map out what we already know between us about this field. We will also involve throughout our activities a group of people with personal experience of mental health problems. They will work with researchers, and with charities and public organisations who are active in this field, to work out the priorities for further research that brings together different types of expertise.

Once we've mapped the evidence and established research priorities, we will advertise to researchers within and outside our network an opportunity to carry out small projects that will help move this field forwards. There are some excellent young researchers in this field who have joined our network - we aim especially to support them and other potential future leaders in applying for funding. The final stage will involve presenting the network's work widely. This will include papers and a conference for other researchers, meetings with policy makers, and discussions with professionals and the public about our findings and potential next steps. Our blogger collaborators the Mental Elf and Mark Brown, and our roles in policy research will help us at this stage.

Planned Impact

The longer-term impact we are aiming for relates to two overlapping groups of people - people with mental health problems, and people in the general population who are lonely and/or socially isolated, or at risk or becoming so. By loneliness we mean a subjective feeling of not having sufficient meaningful contact with other people. By social isolation, we mean an objective lack of social contacts. The two are related but distinct: someone may choose solitude and thus be isolated but not lonely, or they may feel lonely despite considerable contact with others. We plan to study the two concepts alongside each other as they are often hard to disentangle in interpreting research evidence.

Regarding people with mental health problems, our ultimate aim is to find ways of reducing loneliness and social isolation. In terms of impact, loneliness is by definition unpleasant, so that reducing the current high rates among people with mental health problems is in itself a significant goal. Loneliness and social isolation are also associated with poor physical health and high levels of health service use, so that there are potential physical health and also economic benefits from reducing them. There is also emerging evidence that loneliness and social isolation impede recovery among people with mental health problems, another reason why targeting them may have a substantial impact. A better understanding of the interrelationships between mental health problems and loneliness and social isolation, and evidence on which strategies are most effective are means by which we hope our network will eventually result in these positive impacts for people with mental health problems.

There is also potential impact from our network's activities for people in the general population who are lonely and/socially isolated. There is evidence that such people are at greater risk than others of developing mental health problems. It is therefore possible that by reducing loneliness and/or social isolation, some mental health problems can be prevented. We hope that our network will result in evidence allowing this possibility to be further assessed. It may be that in such preventive work it would be most fruitful to target groups who are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation. These include people with disabilities, carers, new parents, refugees, students and older adults.

As our proposal is to establish a research network rather than to conduct a major study, we do not envisage achieving all these impacts within the life of the network. We do expect some short to medium-term impacts, including from dissemination to practitioners, policy makers and the public reports from experts from a wide range of disciplines on the current state of evidence on loneliness and social isolation and mental health. We hope that this will stimulate innovation and an intensified focus on the area. The relatively small projects that we will fund in the second stage of the project will also make advances in the field that may have impacts on practice and prevention.

However, the major impacts of the network are longer term. In the process of developing this application, we have brought together a substantial group of researchers from a wide range of disciplines field who were in many cases not aware of relevant work in related fields. By bringing together and enhancing this network, and stimulating discussions with people with lived experiences and providers of innovative services, we anticipate a wave of new work in this field that integrates biological, psychological and social approaches to explanation and intervention much better than before. We hope this will contribute to the impacts described above.

The network will also make an impact through support for a very promising cohort of early careers researchers. A very significant expected impact will be to contribute significantly to researcher capacity in this field.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The primary aim of our cross-disciplinary network is to encourage active research collaborations to improve our understanding of the mental health impact of loneliness and social isolation, and how this may be alleviated. Our outputs are therefore the sum of the parts of different research teams' outputs (some covered in individual Researchfish submissions), but also the ideas and collaborations generated through the creation of a network of collaborators. These collaborators, with particular emphasis on Early Career Researchers (ECRs), span disciplines including clinical psychology, applied mental health research, social epidemiology, public mental health, human geography, history, civil engineering, health economics, public health, social policy, sociology, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, architecture, geography, the arts, digital design and human-computer interaction.

• What were the most significant achievements from the award?

The most significant achievements from this award to date are:
Membership: At the start of the award, the network had 143 members. The network currently has 426 members, spanning the disciplines mentioned above. Current membership consists of approximately 82 early to mid-career researchers, 115 Expert Scientific Collaborators UK & Ireland, 17 international experts, 109 Third sector & Policy, 33 practitioners, 24 people with lived experience of MH problems. These collaborators, with particular emphasis on Early Career Researchers (ECRs), span disciplines including clinical psychology, applied mental health research, social epidemiology, public mental health, human geography, history, civil engineering, health economics, public health, social policy, sociology, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, architecture, geography, the arts, digital design and human-computer interaction.

PPI: Establishment of a Co-Production Group of 20 people with relevant lived experience of loneliness or social isolation and mental health problems, who have been meeting every 6 weeks over Stage 1 (first 18 months of the network) to discuss the activities of the network, including planned research studies, planned events, and how to embed PPI into the research projects arising from this network. We have had a number of applications from lived experience researchers to the network Plus Project funding call, indicating the network is attracting interest from lived experience researchers, and progressing towards the network aim of increasing lived experience researcher capacity. Our target is to fund a minimum of two Plus Project applications from people with relevant lived experience.
ECRs: Establishment of a network of over 80 early career researcher (ECR) members, many of whom have presented or attended events we have held. They have also attended two dedicated events run for ECRs (25/5/19; 25/2/20), focussed on collaborating on research projects. We feel that the interest taken by ECRs in the network is an indicator of our success in achieving the network aim of increasing research capacity.
Events: Attendance of a range of network members from a wide range of research disciplines at six major network events, including giving presentations. This supports the network aim of developing cross-disciplinary research regarding loneliness and social isolation in mental health. Our research symposium in January 2020 showcased some of the primary research findings of members of our network. Events are uploaded here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/loneliness-and-social-isolation-14
Online presence: Our Twitter feed has 3,250 followers. Our website hosts Powerpoint slides for many of our presentations, as well as podcasts, and links to key resources. Our network's main events have been live-tweeted and in some cases streamed, with a series of podcasts resulting from events. Our partner the Mental Elf has disseminated major events to a large on-line audience, and has guided us in engaging with the public and a wider group of stakeholders, resulting in considerable reach and interest beyond those attending in person. We have held three tweetchats to date on a range of topics, listed below, and found these a useful way to engage a wider audience.
• How does the built environment impact on loneliness in people with mental health problems? hosted by Network co-investigator Evangelia Chrysikou
• Digital technology & loneliness/social isolation in mental health, hosted by Network co-investigator John Vines
• Researching Eating Disorders and Loneliness: what questions do we need to ask? hosted by: Network members Lorna Collins (lived experience researcher) and Francesca Solmi (ECR)

Plus Projects: We held a series of events to identify research priorities for our first Plus Projects funding call, which also resulted in the creation of a draft theoretical model. We hosted a workshop at which the principles of embedding PPI in research proposals were presented by a member of our Co-Production Group. We made it a criterion of our call that proposals should have input from those with lived experience, and offered up to four hours of advisory time from members of our Co-Production Group to Plus Project applicants. We had 26 applications to the Plus Projects, and our panel meeting is on 11/03/20. We have maintained transparency in the process by which we will identify funded projects, based on advice from our Advisory Group, including review of each application by a researcher with lived experience. We plan to give feedback to our applicants at an early stage, so that unsuccessful candidates can use the feedback to develop their applications for subsequent calls.

Grants: Early in 2019 we won funding from the Campaign to End Loneliness to conduct a review of the literature on psychological interventions to address loneliness, and have submitted this. A further grant supported by our network, led by a network member and with input from one of our network leads, has been successful. This was a ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative grant awarded to Dr Praveetha Patalay, UCL.

Research projects: Members of our network have conducted primary research with the support of network co-investigators, and are submitting these for publication. These include:

• Analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to investigate the association between baseline loneliness and subsequent depression
• Meta-synthesis of qualitative data describing the experience of loneliness in young people with depression
• 2 qualitative studies using interview data with staff from voluntary sector organisations to investigate community sector practitioners' perspectives on the factors that cause and maintain loneliness in young people, and the strategies and barriers used to engage young people who experience loneliness
• An interview study with people who experience loneliness and mental health problems, exploring their views of what has been or could be helpful in alleviating loneliness
• A systematic review of the literature on psychological interventions to address loneliness
• An umbrella review of systematic reviews of the literature on loneliness or social isolation in relation to mental health populations
• An umbrella review of systematic reviews of the literature on loneliness or social isolation and mental health symptoms in general population
• A set of focussed reviews of specific pathways in our theoretical framework describing the links between loneliness or social isolation and mental health problems
• Planned analyses of a range of routine datasets, including ALSPAC, ELSA, APMS, Whitehall, and the five British birth cohorts in the UK, and Add Health in the US.
Exploitation Route We plan to continue network building as before, and to reach out to marginalised groups to reflect the need to understand the experience of loneliness and mental health problems in migrants, the homeless, new parents, international students, young people, and the retired. We continue to disseminate the research findings of members of our network through events, twitter, podcasts, and our website.
Sectors Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/loneliness-and-social-isolation
 
Description At this stage of the award we are unable to quantify the economic and societal impact of the award, but anticipate that the commissioned review of the literature on psychological interventions to address loneliness, submitted to the Campaign to End Loneliness in 2019, will have an impact on the interventions made available to groups who experience loneliness. We are currently conducting a state-of-the-art review of studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to address loneliness, and again anticipate that this will inform practice. • A summary of how the findings from your award are impacting the public, private or third/voluntary sectors, and elsewhere. We have had strong representation from the third/voluntary sector and from NHS and social care practitioners at our events, who are interested in applying research findings to their areas of practice. We have had less evidence of impact on the private sector. • Challenges overcome to achieve impact. One challenge we have faced is how to reach audiences who cannot easily attend events in London. We have overcome this by live-streaming events, using the reach of our partner The Mental Elf on Twitter, uploading podcast discussion, using Tweetchats, and uploading presentations to our website. We have had very positive feedback from ECRs on the resources we provide on our website, and this has supported them in their grant applications and writing papers.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Campaign to End Loneliness commissioned a review entitled: "Strategies for encouraging psychological and emotional resilience in response to loneliness" (competitive application)
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Campaign to End Loneliness 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 07/2019
 
Description Dr Alexandra Pitman supported & is on the steering group for Network member Praveetha Patalay's 'WWCW Highlight Call: Understanding social isolation and subjective wellbeing across the life course: a project using five British birth cohort studies'
Amount £238,982 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/T007575/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2020 
End 11/2021
 
Description Alexandra Pitman interview for Evening Standard 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Network joint-lead Dr Alexandra Pitman gave an interview to Evening Standard journalist and was quoted in his article.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/esmagazine/why-do-men-find-it-so-difficult-to-make-new-friends-...
 
Description Built environment & loneliness tweetchat 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tweetchat focused on the question 'How does the built environment impact on loneliness in people with mental health problems?' hosted by Network co-investigator Evangelia Chrysikou.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Contribution to Meet the Street at Christmas TV series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Network coordinator/research fellow Ellie Pearce was interviewed for BBC series about choirs as a way to alleviate loneliness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2019/51/meet-the-street-at-christmas-e1
 
Description Dr Eiluned Pearce interviewed for Nordic Cuddle blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Eiluned Pearce wrote responses to interview questions for a blog post by Network members Nordic Cuddle, a therapy business, talking about her research into social relationships.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.nordiccuddle.com/post/nordic-cuddle-interviews-dr-ellie-pearce-research-fellow
 
Description Five blogs on 3 Network events and 2 related events organised/attended by Network members 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We supported the writing of five blogs that are hosted on our website:

(1) Network early career researcher Vasiliki Tzouvara wrote a blog on the Network event 'Understanding loneliness among people with mental health problems: What I took from the UKRI Loneliness & Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network workshop on 26th June 2019'
(2) A member of the Network Co-Production Group wrote a blog on 'Mapping the Pathways: Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health: A workshop for Network members, July 2019'
(3) Network early career researcher Molly Bird wrote a blog on the Network Showcase Symposium event in January 2020
(4) Network early career researcher Alex Vickery attended the Future Roots/Countrymen conference on behalf of the Network and wrote a blog about her experiences
(5) Network early career researcher Lara McNally wrote a blog about a Parental Loneliness stakeholder event organised by Network member Rebecca Nowland at the University of Central Lancashire
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Knowledge Exchange workshop on alleviating loneliness through dance/music 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Eiluned Pearce was invited to an interdsciplinary and cross-sector workshop exploring dance/music as a way to prevent and alleviate loneliness. She led a session on 'What is loneliness?' outlining research into different types/dimensions of loneliness, the measures commonly used and the different approaches to interventions used so far. The knowledge exchange workshop involved 2 music/dance therapists, 2 professional dancers/representatives of a theatre company and 1 non-professional dancer, a work experience student from the theatre company, 2 volunteers from a third sector organisation, 3 researchers (2 postdoctoral researchers including Eiluned, and a PhD student) looking at arts and health or music and social bonding, and a composer who will work with the theatre compnay dancers to create a new production around loneliness. The aim of the workshop was to explore the possibility of future research collaborations (possibly involving application to the Network's Interventions funding call). Eiluned also supported the early career researcher Dr Bronwyn Tarr to apply for the grant to support this work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/event/moving-together-alleviating-loneliness-through-an-interdisciplinary...
 
Description Loneliness and Social Isolation Research Network Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Event to launch the network and engage potential network members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description MHQT on social prescribing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Network joint lead Professor Sonia Johnson chaired a Mental Health Question Time session on social prescribing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeB6fb_ssvY&list=PLSKM2Zm6MngLis9TTuyzLy8mqdstJWIIl&index=2&t=0s
 
Description Mapping the Pathways: Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The aim of the event was to use the collective expertise of the Network to identify potential pathways and common underlying factors in relation to loneliness, social isolation and mental health. To contextualise the day, the Network coordinators/Research Fellows gave an overview of an umbrella view looking at epidemiological reviews on associations between loneliness and different mental health disorders. Two epidemiologists from the Network commented on the umbrella review and identified gaps for future research. We then invited short talks from Network co-investigators and members from a number of different disciplines to give their ideas on potential pathways or common underlying factors, in order to stimulate discussion. These included cognitive/neuroscience, psychological, epidemiological and built environment perspectives. After the talks we had two discussion group sessions (and a networking lunch), the first discussion on 'Why might people who are lonely or social isolated tend to develop mental health problems (and why may loneliness/social isolation make it harder to recover)?' and the second on 'Why are high rates of loneliness/social isolation found among people with mental health problems? Are there pathways from one to the other that could explain this?'. Each table had a facilitator and a note-taker. These notes were combined with those taken at the June event to create a list of potential research questions that fed into our first funding call and were provided as resources for potential applicants. The format of short talks to facilitate discussion followed by small group discussion worked well and generated many ideas for why loneliness/social isolation is statistically associated with mental health problems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Mental Elf blog by Network early career researcher Dr Laurie Hare-Duke 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We invited Laurie to write a blog on a recent paper about psychosis and loneliness for the Mental Elf.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.nationalelfservice.net/populations-and-settings/loneliness/loneliness-psychosis-continuu...
 
Description Mental Elf podcasts for Network Showcase Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Mental Elf provided live twitter coverage for our Showcase Symposium event and as part of this created podcast interviews with three of our speakers about their research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://soundcloud.com/national-elf-service/sets/mhloneliness
 
Description Mental Health Question Time on Loneliness 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Network launch a mental health question time (MHQT) on loneliness was recorded with an expert panel and live audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwT1EHGy2dM
 
Description Monthly Network Newsletters 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We send a monthly newsletter to Network members, which also gets forwarded to their contacts and often results in new members signing up. The Newsletter contains information about our (and other relevant) events and funding calls, as well as other opportunities for engaging with loneliness/social isolation and mental health activities and research, recent publications (research papers and reports, media articles, blogs, resources) and a summary of recent Network activities. We also have a 'community spotlight' section to highlight the work of community organisation members of the Network, and a 'creating contacts' section where members can make requests to find collaborators for research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Network Showcase Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We invited Network members to submit abstracts for talks and/or posters and accepted 16 speakers to give short talks (10 minutes plus 5 minutes questions). These covered a broad range of topics and disciplines, and some of the presentation slides can be found here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/loneliness-and-social-isolation-25. The format of the day worked really well (4 sessions of 4 talks each) and delegates seemed to really take the opportunity to network over tea and lunch, and to look at the posters. Informal feedback was generally very enthusiastic, and there was a great sense of the energy and range of approaches and interests in the Network coming together. There was also good engagement on twitter through coverage from the Mental Elf.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Pathways funding call workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The aim of this event was to provide information on the Pathways funding call and to provide opportunities for potential applicants to form collaborations, particularly between disciplines and across sectors (e.g. academics with third sector). We also wanted to provide the opportunity for applicants to understand how to incorporate lived experience perspectives into their applications. We started with a networking lunch, followed by 3 talks giving information on (1) the scope of the call, (2) a member of the Co-Production Group (CoG) gave a presentation on involving lived experience perspectives, (3) the practicalities of applying. Afterwards there were two sets of table discussions around topics of common interest, which aimed to facilitate the creation of collaborations for the call. The delegates were grouped into these tables for the first discussion group in advance using keywords given at registration, and the discussion groups involved different disciplines and sectors. For the second set of discussions, delegates were free to move to different tables and could add their own topics of interest. In reflecting on this event in co-investigator and co-production group meetings, as well as in discussion with a third sector member of the Network, the need for more targeted matching for funding calls has been raised, perhaps through facilitated 'speed-dating'. Feedback from CoG members about the event was extremely positive: they enjoyed the opportunity to explain patient & public involvement to researchers, particularly since they sensed that many researchers lacked confidence in this. The CoG members felt that researchers had really engaged with them. Four of the applications to our call involve CoG members as co-applicants, and these collaborations arose from this workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Professor Sonia Johnson talk at Campaign to End Loneliness policy & research hub meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Professor Sonia Johnson gave a talk presenting the findings of the Community Navigators Project research, which co-produced an intervention for social isolation and loneliness for people with severe anxiety and depression at a Campaign to End Loneliness (a third sector organisation) event on social prescribing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/blog/how-can-social-prescribing-help-tackle-loneliness/
 
Description Strategies for encouraging psychological and emotional resilience in response to loneliness stakeholder event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The purpose of the event was to get feedback from stakeholders on preliminary results for a report on psychological interventions for loneliness commissioned by the Campaign to End Loneliness. The all-day event comprised a series of talks from research experts as well as presentaiton of the preliminary report results, and small-group discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Talk to Oxford Mental Health Campaigners for Change by Dr Eiluned Pearce 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact Dr Eiluned Pearce was invited to speak to the Oxford Mental Health Campaigners for Change Group (https://www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/support-groups/oxford-mental-health-campaigners-for-change/) about research into loneliness, social isoaltion and mental health, alongside a representative of a local charity working to alleviate loneliness, The Archway Foundation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Tweetchat on Digital technology & loneliness/social isolation in mental health 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tweetchat on Digital technology & loneliness/social isolation in mental health, hosted by Network co-investigator John Vines
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description Tweetchat on Eating Disorders and Loneliness 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tweetchat on 'Researching Eating Disorders and Loneliness: what questions do we need to ask?' hosted by: Network members Lorna Collins (lived experience researcher) and Francesca Solmi (Early Career Researcher)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...
 
Description UCL Institute of Mental Health podcast on loneliness & mental health 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Network coordinators, co-investigators and a member of the Network Co-Production took part in podcast interviews and discussion on loneliness and mental health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://soundcloud.com/ucl-mental-health/ucl-mental-health-podcast-loneliness-and-mental-health
 
Description Ula Tymoszuk and Rosie Perkins were panellists at the Southbank Centre's Creative Health Conference on 10 June 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Network Co-investigator Rosie Perkins and Network early career researcher Ula Tymoszuk were panellists at the Southbank Centre's Creative Health Conference on 10 June 2019. They contributed to the panel asking 'How do we address social isolation and loneliness through art?', discussing interventional and epidemiological work from the Centre for Performance Science that focuses on the arts and loneliness/social connection.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Understanding loneliness in people with mental health problems workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The aim of the event was to elicit interdisciplinary and cross-sector discussion on defining and measuring loneliness, and to generate research ideas around understanding the experience of loneliness as it relates to mental health. We started with a lunch for networking, followed by 1.5 hours of short talks from a variety of disciplines from Network co-investigators and members (including 3 ECRs) on current measures/dimensions of loneliness and what might be missing from these, historical perspectives on loneliness, philosophical perspectives, experiences of stigma and loneliness, the findings of a qualitative meta-synthesis on loneliness as experienced by young people with depression led by a visiting Network student, and two members of our Co-Production Group gave personal accounts of their experiences. Through the talks we aimed to stimulate discussion, which was structured in two 45-minute sessions. For each of these we had topics assigned to tables such as 'Measures', 'Feedback on the planned consultation interview/focus group questions' (ongoing), 'exploring experiences of loneliness in individuals with mental health problems', and 'How and why does loneliness/isolation arise in people with mental health problems?'. Each table had a facilitator and a note taker, and tables included a range of academics, third sector representatives, and practitioners. The discussions were engaging, and informal feedback and the liveliness of the discussions suggested that the delegates found the talks thought-provoking. After the event the network coordinators collated the notes from the different discussions and produced a list of potential research questions to feed into our first funding call.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology-and-applied-clinical-research-department/lone...