Barry Wright
Professor of Child Mental Health

Profile

Biography

Barry Wright is a Professor of Child Mental Health and runs the child mental health research stream, which sits within the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group (MHARG) led by Professor Simon Gilbody. His main area of research is new innovation to generate and evaluate child friendly interventions for children and young people moving away from adult based interventions used in so many places. To enable this he heads up the Child Oriented Mental health Intervention Centre (COMIC). This is a collaboration between the University of York and the Leeds and York Partnership Foundation NHS Trust with strong representation from users and carers and voluntary agencies. This involves a team of 12 researchers.

He holds a joint appointment with the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences and the Hull York Medical School (HYMS).

Barry has considerable clinical experience. He is clinical lead of the National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services across ten centres in England and has worked in the NHS for 31 years supporting children and families with a range of mental health problems, developing expertise in autism spectrum disorders, working with deaf children and families, and sick children or those with learning disabilities. Prior to being a child psychiatrist he trained as a general practitioner. He has also previously worked as a clinical director running ten services within a large NHS Trust. In addition, Barry is an honorary consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust.

Barry has written several books, most notably parent and professional guides for supporting children with autism spectrum disorders (eg How to Live with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome) and undergraduate training texts (eg 100 Cases in Psychiatry). He has published numerous peer reviewed papers in the fields described above. He has also been closely involved in the development of undergraduate medical school curricula and the delivery of mental health teaching for doctors with close emphasis on respectful and partnership practice with service users. He has a keen interest in the mental health and welfare of University students. He believes strongly in preventive services and the provision of good support for the social and emotional development of children in early life.

Qualifications

  • MBBS
  • DCH
  • MRCGP
  • MMedSc
  • FRCPsych
  • MD 

Research

Overview

Professor Barry Wright leads the Child Oriented Mental Health Intervention Centre (COMIC) - The COMIC research team seeks to improve the lives of hearing and deaf children and young people. The main aim is to develop and research mental health interventions for deaf and hearing children which are accessible, child friendly and child centred.

Barry runs a child mental health research network and coordinates a team of 12 researchers that focus on two main areas of work.

The first area is child orientated interventions for child mental health problems. Much research in the field of child mental health focuses on medication, neuroimaging, genetics, biological sciences and the trialling of adult interventions in younger age groups. Barry’s team is unique in seeking to develop and research interventions that have been designed specifically for children and young people. Children, young people and their families are always closely involved in the development and planning of research. Interventions that the team have researched over the last few years include using social stories that write a child into a story about themselves to give them helpful social and emotional information; the use of technology and computers, friendly to young people, to deliver child mental health interventions; and the team is about to start a study using LEGO based therapy in children on the autism spectrum.

The second main area is internationally unique in that the team provides research resources for deaf children with mental health problems within the context of a National Clinical Deaf Child Mental Health Service across ten centres in the UK. This team believes passionately in improving services for deaf children and has carried out research such as screening for mental health problems using questionnaires in children’s first language (eg British Sign Language), and the adaptation and validation of assessment tools for autism that are appropriate for deaf children, alongside considerable study to better understand autism spectrum disorders when it presents in a deaf child.

Projects

  • ASPECT: Alleviating Specific Phobias Experienced by Children Trial
  • I-SOCIALISE: Investigating SOcial Competence and Isolation in children with Autism taking part in LEGO-based therapy clubs In School Environments
  • DIADS: Diagnostic Instruments for Autism in Deaf children’s Study 

Research group(s)

Publications

Full publications list

Teaching

Undergraduate

Barry is Academic lead for Student Support, leading a team of people providing support to students across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the Hull York Medical School.

Barry was convener for the eight week mental health block in year three of the Hull York Medical School. (2004-2017)   

Postgraduate

Barry is involved in teaching on nursing courses, social worker courses and CAMHS training courses. He is also external examiner for the Aberdeen Medical School and has examined numerous dissertations at BSC, MSC, MD and PhD level.  He has also supervised PhD students.  

Barry is able to supervise a Masters project at any one time with a focus on managing child mental health problems.  Specific areas of interest include psychological therapies, systemic, holistic, social and/or environmental interventions. Barry is particularly interested in child oriented intervention research that brings benefit to children that are delivered in child friendly ways. Common approaches for Masters projects are quantitative systematic reviews.

External activities

Memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Member of the Child Psychiatry Research Society
  • Convener of the Yorkshire Child Mental Health Research Network
  • Member of the Children with Life Limiting Illness (CHILLI) Research Group

Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

Barry has been invited to chair or give specific talks by numerous organisations including:

Media coverage

  • Barry has appeared on local radio discussing his research. 
  • His research studying attachment disorders in children was recently reported on in the Guardian

Charities

Contact details

Dr Barry Wright
Professor of Child Mental Health

Tel: 01904 724540

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