Leading mental health experts assembled in Oxford to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and budget cuts on the nation’s mental health, as well as the feasibility of a vaccine-like breakthrough for mental health conditions.
Oxford, UK – The first in an annual series, the Subramanium Study Centre’s State of Mental Health lecture brought together a broad range of guests and speakers from across mental health and other industries, including journalists, academics, physicians, and community workers.
Speakers at the event included journalist and broadcaster Sean Fletcher, presenter of Countryfile and Good Morning Britain; Professor Wendy Burn CBE, a leading old age and dementia psychiatrist and former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; and Professor Belinda Lennox, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
The event was hosted by the Subramanium Study Centre, which is based in Headington. The Centre was founded by Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India, in 2020 to advance the understanding of mental health by supporting, funding, and undertaking multidisciplinary research.
As part of the event, Sean Fletcher gave an emotional testimony about his son Reuben's experience of living with OCD, and the strain it has put on his family, while Professor Wendy Burn CBE provided an overview of the current challenges, trends, and solutions in UK mental health.
The former RCPsych president also highlighted the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, including the direct impact on those who have been infected, and the indirect impact of isolation, loss, and economic effects.
Despite the speakers calling on the urgent need for more mental health funding, there was still some optimism to come out of the event. Professor Burn was confident that the tide was beginning to turn. She highlighted recent research breakthroughs, while Professor Lennox touted the possibility of a vaccine-like breakthrough for mental health in the future.
The event finished with a panel discussion featuring several mental health experts. The panel discussed the use of technology in mental health, the effectiveness of current treatments, as well as what the future of the industry looks like.
Gopal Subramanium, founder of the Subramanium Study Centre, said: “Even before the events of the past two years, the need for improvements in mental health provisions was more pressing than ever. Now, it cannot be ignored. The aim of this event is to use the Centre’s cross-disciplinary approach to raise awareness and educate both within and outside the sector.”
“Oxford is the academic heart of the UK, and has a vibrant and innovative private sector. Hosting the inaugural lecture here provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to bring together some of the greatest minds in the field for discussion, open dialogue, and education. Our hope is for this event to become one of the biggest in the mental health calendar, and really drive the conversation on this important topic to new heights.”
About the lecture series
The Subramanium Study Centre’s new not-for-profit Lecture Series draws on the Centre’s cross-disciplinary approach to mental health research and aims to discuss the current challenges, trends, and research breakthroughs in the field. Based at The Prince of Wales International Centre for SANE Research in Oxford, the Centre principally seeks to advance the understanding of mental health and support the discovery of new treatments for mental health conditions.
Founded and launched by Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India, in September 2020, a key focus of the Centre’s work is to provide a better framework for understanding the interconnection between mental health, physical health, and other health conditions. By supporting, funding, and undertaking multidisciplinary research, it seeks to identify the commonalities in themes and causes between a range of mental health conditions.