PhD opportunity – Developing and evaluating automated mental health care interventions for young people as part of the STTAMP programme of work
This is an exciting opportunity for a clinician with expertise in paediatrics or mental health funded by the Choc Wilson Memorial Research Scholarship. This project will evaluate and test established automated mental health interventions for young people with mental health symptoms as part of the STTAMP programme of work.
The candidate will be highly motivated, be a great team player and have an established interest in academic medicine. The candidate will be based at the University of Bristol supervised by Prof Esther Crawley and co-supervised by Prof Roz Shafran (University College London).
Most young people with mental health problems, don’t get the help they need. Sleep problems (also called insomnia symptoms) can be both a cause and a consequence of mental health problems. We have developed an app (Sleep Tracker) that detects when insomnia symptoms start. We want to combine this with treatment using young people’s smartphones in a programme called STTAMP (Sleep Tracking and Treatment for Adolescent Mental health Problems). We need to make sure young people (including those from poorer backgrounds and different cultural backgrounds) will use STTAMP.
STTAMP will include a three-step intervention. Not all adolescents will get better with insomnia treatment, so we want to offer them automated treatment for mental health problems as well (the third step). This PhD will be developing and testing this within the STTAMP programme of work.
PhD project details:
Project 1: Systematic review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of automated mental health interventions for adolescents with anxiety and depression to find out which automated intervention would be best for adolescents with anxiety and/or depression.
Project 2: Explore what adolescents think about the chosen mental health interventions using co-participatory workshops, individual interviews and possibly focus groups
Project 3: Test the interventions chosen within the observational cohort which will be recruited as part of STTAMP. Explore the acceptability and feasibility using quantitative data (recruitment, retention, app usage and Patient Reported Outcome Measures) and qualitative data (interviews with participants).
University of Bristol, Bristol Medical School
Bristol Medical School is the largest and one of the most diverse schools in the University of Bristol, with approximately 1100 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate, 250 postgraduate taught and 240 postgraduate doctoral research students. The Head of School is Professor Ashley Blom. The Medical School has two departments: Population Health Sciences and Translational Health Sciences. The School is a leading centre for research and teaching across these areas. Research in the School is collaborative and multi-disciplinary, with staff coming from a wide range of academic disciplines and clinical specialties.
The 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed the University of Bristol’s position as a leading centre for health research. Bristol Medical School contributed to three Units of Assessment including UoA1 (Clinical Medicine), UoA2 (Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care) and UoA4 (Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience). The UoA2 submission, comprising predominantly Medical School staff. was ranked 3rd in the UK with 94% of our submitted research outputs rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). Submissions to UoA1 and UoA4 were shared with varying degrees of representation with the Faculty of Life Sciences. Respectively UoA1 and UoA4 had 94% and 84% of submitted research ranked as 4* or 3*, which represented increases in each category in the proportions of 4* ranked papers as well in growth in GPA rankings above the previous REF2014.
We have built up extensive collaborations throughout the University including those with the pre-clinical biological sciences, the Dental and Veterinary Schools, the School of Policy Studies, and basic scientists across many Schools and Faculties. Within the Medical School are several major research centres, groups and programmes. More details can be found on the Medical School research website.
The Medical School has responsibility for the undergraduate medical (MBChB) programme. Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes within the School provide training and career development for undergraduate and intercalating medical students, academic clinical trainees, other clinicians, and research staff. There are taught postgraduate programmes in Epidemiology, Molecular Neuroscience, Orthopaedic Research, , Perfusion Science, Public Health, Reproduction and Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration, and Translational Cardiovascular Medicine. There is an active programme of research seminars in term-time.
The School is committed to delivering a positive working environment for all staff, it holds Silver Athena SWAN Awards in recognition of the ongoing commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion within the School.
This post will be based in Canynge Hall or Oakfield House although the University supports hybrid working.
Candidate requirements: This PhD will be suitable for paediatricians in training, psychologists, nurse practitioners or therapists. Applicants should have a degree in their relevant discipline and with an interest and some relevant expertise in paediatrics or mental health. This studentship is a 3-year award.
Funding available: The PhD is funded by the Choc Wilson Endowment. There is sufficient funding for the candidate to receive a clinical salary (for paediatricians this is at trainee level) and full UK PhD tuition fees. Whilst we anticipate that the PhD will be conducted full time (with a maximum of one paid day for clinical commitments), it would be possible to conduct the PhD part time over a longer period. Overseas students are welcome to apply but would need to fund the difference between home and overseas fees.
How to apply
Application: Apply online using the University of Bristol PhD application system. type in Population Health Sciences (PhD) and state in the application that you are applying for funding from the “STTAMP programme”. Please ensure you have read our admissions statement here.
Interested and suitably qualified candidates apply by the closing date of 1st October 2022. The intended start date for the project is Autumn 2022, but there is flexibility.