Academic presents mental health research to audience of MPs


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A team of academics led by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have presented their research to an audience of MPs at the Houses of Parliament, UKRI and Research councils.

Professor Raghu Raghavan and a team of researchers from the Mary Seacole Research Centre addressed the ‘Mobilising Global Voices 2019 conference, where he explained the findings of an innovative interdisciplinary mental health research project on forced migration and resilience being led by DMU in the Indian city of Pune.

India Research

The conference focused on ‘Perspectives from the Global South’ exploring climate change and forced displacement. It was organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), in collaboration with UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the International Development Committee.

Professor Raghavan is the Principal Investigator leading a team of researchers working on a project, funded by GCRF through the AHRC and Medical Research Council, examining the mental health of internal migrants in India.

In partnership with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bengaluru, the Institute of Health Management in Pachod and Pune’s Swatantra theatre group, researchers are using theatre storytelling practices to raise awareness of mental health and provide support for migrant slum dwellers.

India Research 1

Investigators have worked with internal migrants living in Pune’s slum communities to study their mental health and resilience in the face of adversity.

These stories are now being used to create a theatre performance which will be shown to people in these communities in order to increase their awareness of resilience and mental health.

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Professor Raghavan said it was a ‘privilege’ to be invited to speak about his research at the Houses of Parliament.

He explained: “It was a privilege to showcase our research, which is tackling the important global issue of forced migration and resilience, to an audience of MPs and to have the chance to talk about how DMU’s work is having an impact towards addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“This is a truly collaborative project so I’m delighted that I could be joined by our partners from India and have the chance to engage with policymakers and Research Councils.”

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Over two days, academics from universities across the UK showcased research into topics related to forced displacement, climate change and global inclusion. There were also networking and collaboration opportunities.

The project in Pune is due to conclude in the autumn, but researchers have already been struck by the level of resilience shown by India’s internal migrants, despite the enormous challenges they face on a daily basis.

“We have seen that internal migrants are extremely resilient and that they are motivated by factors such as their desire to support their families,” Professor Raghavan said.

“We wanted this project to be a two-way conversation. We have enabled people to engage with us and we are giving them a voice and opportunity to tell their story.”
Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019

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