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£3m funding boost for mental-physical illness research

Posted on 21 May 2020

The University of York has been awarded £3m to develop a treatment for people suffering from diabetes and depression in South Asia.

The grant will be used to explore how ‘Behavioural Activation’ (BA), a psychological talking treatment, can be made culturally and economically suitable for people suffering from the illnesses in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Diabetes and depression are a growing problem worldwide, particularly in South Asia. This relatively simple treatment helps people make the link between what they do and how they feel and supports them to make changes to improve their health. 

Our researchers will work with ‘community advisory panels’ providing a crucial link to people with long-term mental-physical illnesses, relevant health care organisations, along with policymakers who will all contribute to ensure the treatment can be delivered effectively.

The project, funded via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Programme, is an extension to research already conducted at the university. 

Project Lead, Dr Najma Siddiq from the Department of Health Sciences said: “It builds on work by researchers in the IMPACT programme, within the mental health group in health sciences. This project, also funded by NIHR, is improving outcomes for people in South Asia suffering from two or more long-term mental and physical health conditions.“

“It will build our research capacity and enhance our relationships in the two countries. We look forward to working with existing and new partners - Advancement through Research and Knowledge Foundation, Bangladesh Diabetes Association, the National Institute of Mental Health in Bangladesh and Institute of Psychiatry and Khyber Medical University in Pakistan. The research programme provides a valuable opportunity to improve the lives of many in South Asia.”

The University of York will also be working with several UK institutions including the University of Southampton, University of Leeds, University College London, Teeside University and the Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust.