An interview with new MQ Fellow Dr Alexandra Burton


MQ is happy to announce that Dr Alexandra Burton from College Faculty London has been awarded an MQ Fellowship. Alexandra is finding out the affect of social prescribing on individuals who have extreme psychological sicknesses. Particularly she needs to grasp why social prescribing is efficient and the way we will enhance entry to it for susceptible individuals. 


Please give a short abstract of your educational profession to this point:

I’ve a masters in Psychological Well being Companies Analysis from Kings Faculty London and studied half time for my PhD in utilized psychological well being analysis while working as a analysis programme supervisor at College Faculty London. My PhD was primarily based on a scientific trial of a major care well being programme to scale back ldl cholesterol in individuals dwelling with extreme psychological sicknesses and explored how social assist could possibly be used throughout the well being programme to enhance cardiovascular well being. I then managed a programme of labor exploring behavioural, social, and psychological assist methods to assist individuals dwelling with dementia reside independently at house earlier than shifting to the Social Biobehavioural Analysis Group as a Senior Analysis Fellow in April 2020 at first of the pandemic. All of my deliberate analysis tasks had been placed on maintain (as they concerned in-person programmes and actions!) however I had the improbable alternative to guide the qualitative a part of the COVID-19 social examine involving over 400 interviews on how the pandemic affected individuals’s psychological well being and wellbeing. Issues have now settled, and I work on a spread of trials exploring the affect of arts, social and neighborhood programmes. My foremost focus is knowing how and why these programmes assist individuals.


How lengthy have you ever been at your present college/establishment?

I began working at College Faculty London within the Division of Psychiatry in 2011 and moved to my present division in April 2020.


What’s your space of examine?

I’m a mixed-methods researcher with a powerful concentrate on intervention research and qualitative analysis that explores the affect of social, cultural and neighborhood programmes on our well being. I’m actually serious about understanding how and why these programmes affect us, in addition to figuring out and exploring challenges to engagement in these programmes in order that we will improve accessibility. My specific focus is on growing entry amongst populations with extreme psychological well being issues to assist assist each their bodily and psychological well being.


What motivated you to review this space? Do you may have a private connection to the topic?

I’m actually serious about understanding the social elements of well being from a holistic perspective; how feeling lonely or socially remoted can result in poorer psychological well being and improve our threat of dying from situations resembling heart problems, and the way constructive social connections may help us to flourish and get better from sick well being.

The pandemic actually introduced house the significance of discovering methods to attach and the ability of the humanities, tradition, hobbies, leisure and neighborhood to carry us collectively and assist our well being.


 What are you hoping to find or obtain because of your analysis?

Within the short-term, I need to higher perceive the best way to improve entry to social prescribing and neighborhood property for individuals with SMI, this may contain tackling stigma and supporting hyperlink employees and neighborhood organisations to extra confidently work with people who find themselves typically missed for this sort of assist. Long term, with the ability to interact in all these actions will assist individuals with SMI enhance their bodily and psychological well being via a wide range of completely different processes together with elevated social connectedness, elevated confidence via studying new expertise and elevated bodily exercise. Understanding what these processes are will assist information the event of latest programmes to assist individuals even additional.


How do you are feeling about getting the Fellows award from MQ?

I’ve been conscious of MQ because it started in 2013 and its concentrate on psychological well being information science. I used to be so excited to seek out out that their remit additionally contains funding utilized psychological well being analysis and I really feel privileged to be doing this mission with their backing.


How vital is funding in analysis for the development of our understanding of Psychological well being situations and coverings?

Psychological well being funding has all the time fallen behind analysis funding for different important well being issues, despite the fact that so many people will expertise a psychological well being downside in our lifetime. The affect this has on people, their households, communities and society as an entire is big. It’s subsequently very important that organisations like MQ exist with a sole precedence to spend money on psychological well being analysis to make sure that individuals can entry progressive and evidence-based therapies, companies and assist.


Is there anything you want to say?

Simply an enormous thanks to MQ and their supporters for protecting psychological well being analysis on the agenda and supporting early profession researchers within the area. If anybody is serious about discussing analysis on social prescribing, loneliness, social isolation, and its affect on individuals dwelling with extreme psychological sicknesses please do get in contact.


Alexandra’s analysis is co-funded by the Rosetrees belief and the Stephen Palmer Fellowship fund. You possibly can learn extra about her analysis right here. 



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