Dr Lina Gega is a Reader in Mental Health at the University of York, in a joint appointment with the Department of Health Sciences and Hull York Medical School (HYMS). She is a senior clinician, researcher, teacher and supervisor with expertise in digital mental health and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
Lina completed her doctorate studies at the Institute of Psychiatry King’s College London, her post-graduate clinical training in behavioural psychotherapy at Sheffield Community Health NHS Trust and the Maudsley Hospital London, and her nursing degree at the University of Nottingham. Previously, Lina held leadership roles at King’s College London as Course Director for CBT and Brach Lead for Mental Health Nursing, and at Norwich Medical School as Deputy Lead for Psychiatry. She was also the Clinical Lead of teams that commissioned (Norfolk) and provided (Northumberland) primary care psychological therapy services.
Lina has been a grant applicant and investigator with research teams that secured over £6 million in funding from UK Research Councils and other sources. In collaboration with an Industry partner, Lina led the development of an innovative virtual environments system that uses chroma-key video capture and digital films to facilitate psychological therapy and skills training in different contexts – from improving social anxiety and emotional literacy to conducting medical consultations. She received a Teaching Excellence Award and a Teaching Fellowship from King’s College London. Her work on technology-mediated interventions and training formed an impact case study submitted to 2014 Research Excellence Framework as part of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
Lina’s current work focuses on interventions to improve health and quality of life for children and young people with mental health problems, as part of the Child Oriented Mental Health Intervention Centre (COMIC) She is a co-investigator, trainer and supervisor for a large study comparing one session treatment vs. multi-session CBT for children with phobias (ASPECT) She leads the development and evaluation of a digital game to treat fear-related conditions (DIG4IT) and of a virtual environments system to improve social and communication difficulties in children (I See Me Do). Working with a team of health economists and systematic reviewers, she leads a series of evidence syntheses and knowledge transfer activities on costs and outcomes of digital mental health interventions (CODI).
Lina is a tutor and senior advisor for undergraduate students in Medicine and a research supervisor for post-graduate and doctorate students in Health Sciences. She is an Editor for Cogent Psychology and a reviewer for UK-based and international journals and funding bodies.
- PhD in Health Services Research. ‘Pragmatic Evaluation of Computer-aided Self-Help for Depression/Anxiety’ King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Health Services Research Department (Jan 2009)
- BA (Hons) Adult Behavioural Psychotherapy. Sheffield Hallam University, School of Health & Community Studies with Sheffield Community Health NHS Trust (July 2000)
- BN (Hons) Nursing Studies. University of Nottingham, Postgraduate Division, School of Nursing, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham (July 1998)
- PGCert Behavioural Psychotherapeutic Studies. Sheffield Hallam University, School of Health & Community Studies with Sheffield Community Health NHS Trust (July 2000)
- Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Practitioner. British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (renewed Feb 2011)
- ENB 650 & ENB Higher Award Specialist Practitioner in Mental Health. English National Board (July 2000)
- Registered Nurse in Mental Health (RMN). Nursing & Midwifery Council (July 1998)
- Member of the Centre for Health and Population Sciences (CHaPS)
- Senior Advisor and Mentor, Hull York Medical School Student Support Services
- Lead of Inter-Professional Education Working Group for Hull York Medical School
- Member of the University of York Student Mental Health Forum
Lina’s subject expertise is in digital technologies and mental health, particularly in relation to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), supported self-managed care and standardised interventions in primary care and the community. Her current research focuses on interventions with children and young people affected by, or at risk of, mental health problems.
Her research work has been with a range of clinical populations, including phobias, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disabilities and psychosis. Her publications are cross-disciplinary (nursing, medicine, psychotherapy, psychology) and methodologically diverse (RCTs, evidence syntheses, economic evaluations, tool validation, observational, case-control and qualitative studies).
- ASPECT: Alleviating Specific Phobias Experienced by Children Trial. Co-applicant & Site PI. From July 2016 for 48 months, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme. Full title: A non-inferiority randomised controlled trial comparing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of one session treatment (OST) with multi-session cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in children with specific phobias. Lead applicant: Prof. Barry Wright, University of York & Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust).
- Young SMILES: An intervention for children with mentally ill parents. Co-applicant and site PI. From Jan 2016 for 36 months, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme. Full title: A Community-Based Intervention to Improve Health-Related Quality of Life in Children of Parents with Serious Parental Mental Illness. Lead Applicant: Prof. Kathryn Abel, University of Manchester and Manchester and Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust.
- CODI: Digital Mental Health Interventions: Are they worth it? Lead Applicant & Chief Investigator. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (Researcher-Led Evidence Synthesis). From Sept 2018 for 18 months. Full Title: Costs and Outcomes of Digital Interventions (CODI) to Promote and Improve Mental Health: Evidence Review and Synthesis, Decision Modelling and Knowledge Transfer.
- Closing the Gap Network+: Improving health and reducing health inequalities for people with severe mental illness. Coapplicant. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Cross-Council Mental Health Network Plus Call. From Feb 2019 for 4 years. (Lead: Simon Gilbody, University of York).
- DIG4IT: Digital games to tackle common mental health problems in children and young people. Lead Applicant & Chief Investigator. Funded by the Wellcome Trust through the Centre for Future Health at the University of York (Knowledge Exchange, Impact & Translation - KIT- Fund). From January 2018 for 12 months. Full title: Digital Intervention Games for Implementing Therapy with Children and Young People Experiencing Common Emotional Problems.
- “I See Me Do”: Using a special digital video system to help children overcome social and communication difficulties. Lead Applicant & Chief Investigator. Funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Confidence In Concept Award through the University of York. From Nov 2018 for 14 months. Full Title: Using real-time self-observation through chroma-key video capture and digital films to improve social and communication difficulties in children.
Lina is interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:
- cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
- digital technologies (internet therapies, virtual reality)
- children and young people’s mental health
- Scholarship & Special Interest Programme (SSIP), HYMS
- Psychological Medicine, HYMS
- Critical Appraisal, HYMS
- Ethics, HYMS
- Widening Participation, HYMS
- MSc in Public Health, DoHS
- MSc in Applied Health Research, DoHS
- MSc in Health Economics, DoHS
- PhD Supervisor, CArDiNAL Network (clinical doctoral network for nurses and allied health professionals in the Yorkshire and Humber region)
Lina is able to supervise Masters projects that focus on children's and young people's mental health, psychological and behavioural interventions, digital health, research ethics, culturally adapted care, social determinants of mental health, targeted public mental health interventions for populations at risk or with emerging symptoms, and economic evaluations of mental health interventions.