NIHR BioResource celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week

From 10 – 16 May 2021 we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week.  The theme this year is nature and encouraging people to discover the benefits nature can give.

The NIHR BioResource launched the mental health national programme in 2018 to specialise in studies to help those with mental health problems. 

Professor Matthew Hoptof (Vice Dean of Research at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience) wrote about the launch of the Mental Health BioResource in his blog:

“Mental health is in the public eye like never before, and with it, a welcome shift in how we talk about - and with - people with mental health problems...attitudes and comments are being increasingly challenged and questioned. Celebrities are openly disclosing their own experiences with mental health problems, royalty launch campaigns to support people with mental illness, and politicians of all parties are unified in, at the very least, recognising the problem and the need for change.”

The Mental Health BioResource, led by the BioResource Maudsley at King's College London,  will be releasing information throughout the week to support Mental Health Awareness week through their two studies:

Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) which is an exciting opportunity to get involved in the largest ever study of anxiety and depression.

The Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) is a major research study to better understand the genetic and environmental links to eating disorders and help develop better treatments.

You can follow them here:

GLAD Study:   @GLADStudy (

EDGI UK:   @edgi_uk (

Woman seated, looking to the left out of a window, to indicate anxiety

We must also remember the people we work with.  Staff within the BioResource, in common with everyone else, have been particularly affected in the last 12 to 18 months.  We have learned that it is important to create better and more flexible working environments, taking regular breaks to enjoy nature and also to lend more support to our friends and colleagues.

Responding quickly to COVID-19 , the BioResource continues to support many studies looking at the pandemic.  Previous research has shown that viral pandemics can lead to a lot of distress in society and this badly affects our mental health.  It is important that we look at the mental health impact of this pandemic.

One of our studies, COPING, focuses on the changes in mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. COPING was designed to research two things. Firstly to look at changes in depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.  Secondly to see if pre-existing mental health diagnosis and/or demographics led to a greater change in symptoms. Over 30,000 BioResource volunteers have participated in the study and we look forward to seeing the results of this soon.

The Mental Health Organisation has some top tips on connecting with nature, so feel free to have a look.

This year, it seems even more important to look after our mental health. This week in particular, we need to remember to be kind to each other and ourselves.