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Promoting positive parenting: Evaluating the impact of ‘kitbag’ tools and strategies to promote maternal and child mental health in diverse settings.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Applications are invited for a 3-year full time or 5 year part time /self-funded PhD Studentship starting February 2019.

Maternal and child mental health is a global public health priority (WHO 2013, WHO 2018). Promoting ‘positive parenting’ is considered to be a mediating factor in reducing health inequalities associated with mental illness (Ryan et al, 2018). ‘Kitbag’ is a set of tools and resources designed to help people become calm, resilient and understanding of each other, which in turn builds positive relationships. This programme of research seeks to collect data about the use of kitbag to support parenting for improving maternal and child mental health. Studies will be linked to the Risk, Abuse and Violence Research Programme theme or the End of Life Research Programme theme in the School of Nursing. ( It is anticipated that a group of students will develop research questions that will intersect with other kitbag projects to build a programme of work relating to maternal and child mental health. There are several projects that need to be undertaken to investigate the impact of the kitbag approach:

• Kitbag as a positive intervention for families affected by domestic abuse
• Kitbag as a supportive training resource for health and social care workers
• Kitbag for developing psychological resilience for children in hospital
• Kitbag support for parents and children at end of life
• Cost-effectiveness of kitbag in reducing the need for foster care
• Kitbag support for mothers and children experiencing mental ill health
• Other projects incorporating kitbag in diverse settings will be considered.

Projects may involve mixed methods design, including qualitative research, investigating the acceptability of kitbag in health, education or social care. The principles of ‘Experience Based Co-Design’ (The Point of Care, 2016) will be used to explore how kitbag is or might be used to promote positive parenting strategies. The concept of ‘resilience’ will be critically explored to advance knowledge about the ways in which kitbag tools, systems and environments might enhance positive parenting for maternal and child mental health. If you are interested in undertaking one of these projects please visit the kitbag site ( to help you outline your proposal:

Person Specification
Applicants should have a strong background in professional practice in health, education, psychology or social care. They should have a commitment to advanced practice; involving service evaluation, mixed methods or qualitative research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a health, education, psychology or social care.

How to apply
Applications should be directed to Dr Maria Clark at . To apply, please send:
• A Detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Applicants will be required to attend an interview mid-January 2019. This can be conducted face –to –face, by telephone or skype.

Funding Notes

Self-funded. U.K, EU and International students can apply


NESTA (2008) Psychological Literacy in a Global Age; Innovations in Mental Health – Human Resource Kit Research Report for Nesta.

International Futures Forum (IFF) and the Playfield Institute (2017) Kitbag- Fife Schools Evaluation.

Ryan, R. O’Farrelly, C. Ramchandani, P (2017) Parenting and child mental health. London Journal of Primary Care Nov; 9(6): 86–94. Published online 2017 Aug 10; doi: [10.1080/17571472.2017.1361630]

The Point of Care Foundation (2016) EBCD: Experience-based co-design toolkit. The Point of Care Foundation.

World Health Organisation (2018) Maternal and child mental health. WHO

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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