Lina Gega
Reader in Mental Health

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Profile

Biography

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.

 

Qualifications

  • 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)

University roles

  • 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

Research

Overview

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).

Projects

  • 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.

Research group(s)

Supervision

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

Publications

Full publications list

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Scholarship & Special Interest Programme (SSIP), HYMS
  • Psychological Medicine, HYMS
  • Critical Appraisal, HYMS
  • Ethics, HYMS
  • Widening Participation, HYMS

Postgraduate

  • MSc in Public Health, DoHS
  • MSc in Applied Health Research, DoHS
  • MSc in Health Economics, DoHS

Other teaching

  • 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.

External activities

Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

  • Sep 2018 Foundations of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Depression. A 2-day national training workshop for clinicians as part of the ImpleMentAll Programme (http://www.implementall.eu) (European Collaboration towards faster and more effective implementation of e-health interventions), Tirana, Albania.
  • May 2018 SMART interventions for common mental health problems. 6th International Public Health Conference “Evidence and Good Practices on Mental Health Services”, Tirana, Albania.
  • Apr 2018 My Research Story: Digital Mental Health. Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Trust Research Event, Seaham, UK.
  • Mar 2018 SMART Interventions in Mental Health. Heslington Circle Event, University of York, York, UK.
  • Jan 2018 SMART interventions for tackling mental health problems in children and young people. York Talks, University of York, York, UK. https://prezi.com/kmzkinpm6krv/lina-gega/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
  • Oct 2017 Child Oriented Mental Health Interventions. World Mental Health Day, University of York, York, UK. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-J-tQx1Es7W3_kgynho-sw
  • Dec 2017 Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused. NSPCC Local Transformation Plan Event, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK.
  • Jun 2017 Young Minds: Mental Health Challenges. York Festival of Ideas, York, UK. http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2017/talks/young-minds-mental-health/
  • May 2017 Behind the Election Headlines on Mental Health. University of York Students Union, York, UK.
  • May 2017 Improving Quality of Life for Children and Young People Living with Severely Mentally Ill Parents. Northumberland, Tyne & Wear R&D Annual Conference, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
  • Mar 2017 The use of technology with children and young people to improve social, emotional and developmental outcomes. (Chair) Technology in Child Wellbeing Conference, University of York, York, UK.
  • Feb 2017 Digital Technologies to support Interventions for Children and Young People. CPD Series, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK.
  • Jan 2017 Young SMILES: An intervention for children with mentally ill parents. Child Mental Health Research Networking Day, University of York, York, UK.

Media coverage

  • British Journal of Family Practice (2017) Virtual reality could be more effective for treating social anxiety disorder than in real life. Available at: https://www.bjfm.co.uk/virtual-reality-could-be-more-effective-for-treating-social-anxiety-disorder-than-in-real-life.aspx.
  • Behrens, D. (2017) Building blocks to help get inside the special world of children with autism. The Yorkshire Post. Published 30 January 2017. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/health/building-blocks-to-help-get-inside-the-special-world-of-children-with-autism-1-8360756
  • Digital Bubbles, ESRC-funded Seminar, University of Southampton (2015) Interview. Available at: http://digitalbubbles.org.uk/?page_id=777 
  • BBC News Health (2013) Out-of-body virtual scenarios 'help social anxiety'. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22994671/
  • Gent, E. (2013) Virtual Reality Could Combat Anxiety Problems. Engineering & Technology Magazine. Retrieved from http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2013/jun/anxiety-vr.cfm. 
  • Jerrom, C (2013) Virtual Experience Could Help Treat Social Anxiety. Young Minds News. Retrieved from http://www.youngminds.org.uk/news/blog/1489_virtual_experience_could_help_treat_social_anxiety.

Contact details

Dr Lina Gega
Reader in Mental Health

Tel: 01904 32(1870)

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