My current research focuses on mental health, including perinatal mental health, sleep, and children and young people. More information about these projects can be found via the sections below. You can also check out my current publications and my official Bournemouth University Staff Profile page.
Current and recent projects have explored how mental health impacts on working practices for the Emergency Services (how much support and training emergency professionals need with regard to mental health) and for health professionals (how much training they have had specifically for that), while other research has focused on mental health staff (resilience and self-compassion). Two projects have examined mental health and policing: one focusing on how much training police officers get on that; and one on how officers get help to protect their own mental health (especially when confronted with traumatic events). Recruitment is currently underway with new research focusing on paramedics (and other ambulance personnel), following the same pattern as the work with the Police. Future studies will explore these factors with the Fire Service. Research with health professionals has focused on GPs and mental health; how much training they receive for dealing with patients reporting mental health problems (and whether that's enough) and how they manage their own own mental health. Another GP study examined factors relating to perinatal mental health (see below). I will be starting some new research on 'mental health and nature' (using open spaces to improve mental well-being) in the very near future. Check out the mental health research page for more details.
Previous work has focused on the impact of poor sleep on depression (see Sleep Research pages).
Summaries about specific work with perinatal mental health, children and young people, stigma, and 'mental health and nature' are provided below.
This area of work is very central to my academic and professional work (see the perinatal mental health page for more details about that). Some of my recent research projects have examined health professionals' perceptions of how well educated and trained they are on perinatal mental health. With the help of my students, we conducted separate studies for health visitors, midwives, and GPs. We are currently recruiting for a new study focusing on nurses who have contact with mothers during the perinatal period. In another study we are exploring perceptions of fathers who had witnessed the wife/partner's birth trauma (in respect how they coped with that experience, what information they received, and what support they were given to offset potential development of post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD). We have just completed a similar study with mothers, focusing on the impact of birth trauma) and potential PTSD) for mums. Check the perinatal mental health research page for more details.
Further fathers' mental health studies are underway, focusing on what support they get in the perinatal period (also refer to the specific page on fathers' mental health).
Previous research focused on mother-infant interaction and cognitive function in mothers with serious mental illness.
Child and Young People's Mental Health
I am working on a series of projects focusing on children and young people. Together with education professionals, mental health service providers and local charities, we are looking at how we can evaluate, and improve upon, existing work in Dorset. This will especially focus on work being undertaken at Dorset Mind, for whom I am Patron. With my students, we have been examining perceptions about the need for mental health education and support in schools (with separate projects for teachers and students). In another recent project, we examined ways to tackle behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in young people. We undertook the work with Future Roots (who operate a care farm project in north Dorset) where young people with a range of challenging behaviours are referred. This work was conducted through a 3-year PhD project, which has now been completed (I was lead supervisor).
Mental Health and Nature
The use of our green and coastal environment to enhance mental health and well-being is beginning get more attention. I will be working with local partners, including Dorset Mind, Dorset HealthCare, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Bournemouth Borough Council (Parks Foundation) and Public Health Dorset on projects that will develop and evaluate this growing field of intervention.
Rural Mental Health
In some previous research, several years ago, I co-ordinated a series of projects that explored access to, and prevision of, mental health services in rural locations (in comparison to services in urban areas).
I have been conducting sleep research with adults since 1997. Most of that work has focused on the relationship between poor sleep and depression. I have published several papers on that topic. More recently, the sleep/depression work has centred on postnatal depression, particularly through the work undertaken by my former PhD student, Dr Lauren Kita.