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King's recognised for promoting good health and wellbeing

King’s has been ranked second in the UK and eleventh in the world for improving good health and wellbeing in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020.

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings uses the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for reporting on the societal impact of universities. The SDGs are a set of 17 goals approved by the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) which aim to transform the world by 2030. More than 850 universities were assessed across 18 separate league tables as part of these rankings. In the overall league table, which assessed 766 universities, King’s placed ninth in the world and third in Europe.

King’s was particularly recognised for our work in improving physical and mental health, ranking second in the UK and eleventh in the world for ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ (SDG 3). Research on key diseases and conditions, support for healthcare professions, and initiatives that support the health and wellbeing of students and staff were all taken into consideration.

King’s has a long and proud history of serving our local, national and international communities through our health and wellbeing provisions. This is achieved through world-leading research, education and training, collaborations with King’s Health Partners, international work undertaken by King’s Global Health Partnerships, and the delivery of outreach and volunteering programmes in local communities.

Promoting good health and wellbeing in our local communities

Several local health and wellbeing projects are led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). The Resilience, Ethnicity & Adolescent Mental Health (REACH) study involves working with school pupils across south London to discover why some young people in diverse inner-city areas thrive while others struggle. More than 4,000 students aged 11 to 14 have participated in REACH to date.

Our students have felt listened to and valued and the study has helped them to better understand the steps they can take to prevent the development of mental health problems in the first place. – Director of Learning Y7 and Head of PSHE at a REACH partner school

UP&RUNNING, another project developed by IoPPN academics who lead the Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON), sees young people join sports and exercise sessions to enhance their mental health and wellbeing, while providing new insights to help transform local healthcare provision. Designed to aid the recovery of young people experiencing early signs of poor mental and physical health, UP&RUNNING also provides participants with tools to self-manage their health conditions.

Improving mental health around the world

King's researchers and clinicians are involved in transformative projects that seek to improve mental health across the globe. 

Staff from the Centre for Global Mental Health, run by King’s and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical, are involved in over 30 research projects in more than 30 countries. For example, the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI) aims to equip researchers to lead high quality mental health research programmes that meet the needs of their countries.

The ESRC-funded Centre for Society and Mental Health explores the social factors that shape and promote mental ill health around the world. Current research projects include exploration of mental health in the ageing populations of European cities and the impact of migration and megacities on mental health in China.

The Mental Health and Society Research Group seek to better understand the socio-political dimensions of mental health and illness in the Global North and South through investigating the social conditions that contribute to mental distress in urban, community and conflict settings.

Mental health and wellbeing in the time of COVID-19

Research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on global mental health. To combat this, King’s has initiated several wellbeing projects and championed the importance of prioritising mental health in various settings.

Researchers and clinicians from King’s and South London & Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM) have highlighted the importance of managing the mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers, while King’s Business School academics have offered practical advice to entrepreneurs on how to deal with stress and stay resilient during lockdown. Science Gallery London Mediators, who worked on the ON EDGE: Living in an Age of Anxiety exhibition earlier this year, have shared how they are handling their current anxieties. And staff from the IoPPN, SLAM and Maudsley Charity have worked together to create a series of films to help families struggling during the pandemic.

These are just some of the ways in which the King’s community has responded to the mental health challenges posed by COVID-19.

This accolade comes at a poignant time as we continue to intensify our research response to the coronavirus pandemic, alongside our local, national and global colleagues. While much of our current focus is on understanding the physical health impacts of the virus, we are also prioritising studies to gain insight into and mitigate the significant mental health impacts that are already in evidence and likely to escalate on an unprecedented scale. King’s leading contributions to integrated physical and mental health have never been more crucial than they are today.– Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Senior Vice President/Provost (Health)

Visit the #ContinuingToServe webpage to find out more about how King’s is supporting our communities, let us know how you can help or discover existing projects that need support.

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