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Mary Seacole Research Centre events

World Mental Health Day 11/Oct/2021

Chaired by: Professor Raghu Raghavan

Institution: De Montfort University, Leicester


MSRC Research Seminar 27/Nov/2020

Presenter: Dr Lucian Milasan, VC2020 Lecturer (Mental Health and Learning Disabilities)

Title: "Recovery snapshots: a photographic exploration of Romanian mental health service users’ experience of recovery”.

Institution: De Montfort University, Leicester

Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore lived experiences and meanings of recovery from mental distress from the perspective of mental health service users in Romania – a topic that is under researched in this former communist country currently transitioning from a heavily medicalised mental health system to community-based services.

Socio-economic, cultural, and historical particularities of recovery in Romania were investigated by employing a photography-based qualitative phenomenological design. For this purpose, fifteen participants with mental health problems were selected purposively from a community day centre in Romania and invited to take part in photography workshops and photo-elicitation semi-structured interviews. Their narratives enriched through photographic techniques portrayed the experience of recovery as a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon including medical, psychological, social, spiritual, existential, and occupational aspects.

Three key recovery themes (and subthemes) were identified through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA): awakening (overcoming sedation, emergence of self beyond illness, and liberation), healing (medical, psychological, and spiritual), and reconstructing life (keeping busy, rebuilding social networks, and cultivating hope). The findings of this study contribute to the current recovery framework by showing that recovery cannot be fully understood unless situated in a socio-political, cultural, and historical context. The role of photography in facilitating and supporting recovery from mental distress was also explored and recommendations for using photographic techniques in recovery research and practice were made.

MSRC Research Seminar 22/Oct/2020

Presenter: Professor Anna Madill

Title: ‘Reflecting on 'The Big Picture': A GCRF using visual methods to understand youth substance abuse in Assam"

Institution: University of Leeds, UK

Role: Anna Madill is Chair of Qualitative Inquiry in the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Academy of Social Sciences. She co-founded and chaired the BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section.

Anna’s projects include research funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund on youth substance abuse in Assam She tweets @UKFujoshi and her work can be found at See poster attached.

Cultural Perspectives: Spiritual Interpretations of Human Experience

Speaker: Dr Natalie Tobert is a medical anthropologist who specialises in social inclusion education for medical schools, hospitals and universities.  She offers staff training on spiritual and cultural perspectives for understanding health. She has undertaken original fieldwork research in Sudan and India, and also in UK with the NHS and Kings Fund.

As travel brings us into contact with a diverse range of peoples, our medical systems must adapt to cater for different approaches to ‘mental illness.’  An awareness of cultural diversity reduces stigma, and allows healthcare professionals to better engage with their future patients.  There are several groups who express dissatisfaction with current medical model of mental health diagnosis and treatment: colonised populations in their country of origin; new migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; people who perceive their experiences to be spiritual; plus psychiatrists and psychologists who are aware their training doesn’t fit the spirit of our times.   This talk and discussion is based upon training courses Dr Natalie Tobert taught at hospitals and medical schools.

Book to accompany this talk: Tobert N 2016 "Cultural Perspectives on Mental Wellbeing: Spiritual Interpretations of Symptoms in Medical Practice". London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Philosophies, theories and the research process: Making sense of different perspectives

Speaker: Professor Brown

By popular demand, Brown will discuss philosophies and theories that have a bearing on  the research process. Positivism, realism, interpretivism, postmodernism – what does it all mean? If you’ve ever been intrigued by these ideas and wondered how they might pertain to your own work  this session will be of  interest. So it’s not just a monologue and we can get some discussion going, come with some ideas of your own, perhaps from your own research, or from issues you’ve puzzled over.

A critique of global mental health assumptions and claims – and how we should respond to the mental health crisis post lockdown

Organising faculty/school/research group: Mary Seacole Research Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr. Derek Summerfield, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of psychiatry, London

Publications by Derek Summerfield:

Summerfield D. (2008). How scientifically valid is the knowledge base of global mental health? British Medical Journal, 336, 992–4 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39513.441030.AD

Summerfield, Derek. (2017). Western depression is not a universal condition. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 211. 52.1-52. 10.1192/bjp.211.1.52.