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Director of new Institute of Mental Health Research appointed

Posted on 5 October 2022

The University of York has appointed Professor Lina Gega as the Director of the new Institute of Mental Health Research.

Professor Lina Gega

The Institute will be launched on Monday 10 October and aims to improve the lives and care of people affected by mental health difficulties, and mitigate the impact on individuals, families, the NHS, the workplace and whole communities.

Professor Gega, a mental health nurse and psychological therapist, will bring together researchers and health service partners from a variety of different disciplines to tackle the causes of mental health problems as well as the challenges to accessing treatments. 

She will also help position the Institute as a ‘hub’ within the University community, which includes bringing researchers together with student support teams, York Students’ Unions representatives, charities, and health services, to focus on enhancing mental health support for patients, NHS workers, students on campus, and whole communities.

Working together

Professor Gega said: “Mental health challenges, particularly in young people, is a global issue impacting more than 900 million people, so we must act now to better understand and support those facing poor mental health.

“The very existence of this new Institute demonstrates how important this issue is. The people acting within it will help us to break-down some of the barriers faced by patients and health services, allowing access to new developments in research, and providing a spotlight to those receiving and delivering mental health care.”

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues across our academic and professional services departments, as well as health partners and policy makers, to build the Institute’s membership and demonstrate how much more we can do for developments in mental health research and services by working together across many different areas.”

Improving outcomes

During her time at the University, Professor Gega has secured funding for research into depression, generalised anxiety, specific phobias, and severe mental illness. Her expertise in the use of digital media as a specialist intervention in mental health has led her to focus on improving practice and outcomes for children and young people affected by mental health problems and emotional difficulties. 

She has worked across the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences and the Hull York Medical School, and holds an honorary clinical appointment as Nurse Consultant in Psychological Therapies at Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Trust.

Raise awareness

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York, Professor Matthias Ruth, said: “Professor Gega has exceptional expertise in the area of mental health and brings to her new role extensive networks and deep knowledge from across academia, the NHS, and charities, and from working with schools and young people.  

“As inaugural Director of this important new Institute, she will provide the foundations in which experts will come together from multiple backgrounds to collaborate on how best to tackle some of the challenges society faces on the issue of mental health research, practice and service.

“Professor Gega and her colleagues will deliver the research, projects and partnerships that will raise awareness of mental health and generate the significant leaps forward that we can make by working together.”

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