Reader discusses mental health research with Duke and Duchess

Dr James Davies from Roehampton's Department of Life Sciences addressed The Guild of Health Writers and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at The Anxiety Epidemic event in February, calling for a change in the way psychological distress is understood and managed in the NHS.

Posted: 28 February 2017

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Dr James Davies speaker at The Anxiety Epidemic event. Photo credit: Andrew Youngson

The Anxiety Epidemic gathered health writers, charities and experts in the field to discuss why anxiety and related mental health problems are reaching epidemic proportions, how they can be treated and what measures are in place to reduce the scale of the problem.

Dr Davies, whose research involves studying why psychiatric drugs are being overprescribed, was invited to speak about why mental health outcomes have broadly remained static in recent decades when progress has been swift in the rest of medicine.

He discussed the influence of the medical model in the mental health system in the UK, how it has increased stigma, created widespread over-prescribing of medication and devalued effective non-medical alternatives. Based on evidence showing the effectiveness of peer support, talking therapy and mindfulness, Dr Davies argued that a reappraisal of the understanding and management of psychological distress is essential if our mental health system is to improve is results.

The event was supported by Heads Together, the campaign founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to reduce the stigma of mental health problems and encourage people to talk about the issues.

Prince William also spoke at the event, discussing the work of Heads Together and stressing the importance about taking action to improve mental health and the leading cause of death in men under 40 – suicide.

Other speakers at the event included Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive Officer at Mind, Jacqui Marson, chartered counselling psychologist, and Claire Kelly, Co-Director of the Mindfulness in Schools project.

The University of Roehampton has outstanding undergraduate courses in its Department of Life Sciences and Department of Psychology, including Anthropology and Therapeutic Psychology.

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