Understanding social and spatial inequalities in common mental health disorders

Project reference: LV73

Application deadline: 28th February 2023

How to apply

The UK has some of Europe’s highest level of common mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder). 1 in 4 adults will experience a mental health problem each year, with 1 in 6 experiencing a problem weekly. Who experiences poor mental health is not evenly felt across the population. There are wide inequalities across sex, age group, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. This complex interplay of factors means that the geography of mental health is also uneven, with the spatial determinants of mental health under-researched. Improving our understanding of the reasons behind these inequalities is paramount for designing effective policies for tackling poor mental health. This PhD project will utilise electronic health records from NHS Digital (small area medication dispensing records) and CIPHA (secondary care linked records) to examine the drivers of common mental health disorders across Cheshire and Merseyside. Through identifying which neighbourhoods across the region have higher incidence of common mental health disorders (including by type), we will assess the role that neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation plays in explaining patterns. Through modelling this relationship, we will focus on the ‘residuals’ which correspond to areas where deprivation does not explain common mental health disorders. The project will characterise the types of people and areas (e.g., accessibility to services, features of built environment) that explain these residual neighbourhoods, to identify opportunities for intervention.