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Gemma Knowles March 2023

Dr Gemma Knowles

Lecturer in Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health

Research interests

  • Mental Health

Biography

As a Research Fellow at the Centre for Society and Mental Health, Gemma works on the programme of research on social transitions and young people's mental health. Her research focuses on social inequalities in adolescent mental health. She is a big advocate of co-producing knowledge with young people, and tries to weave this into all aspects of her work. Gemma also co-leads the Statistics for Mental Health Research module on the Mental Health Studies MSc at King's IoPPN and loves working with data and learning new methods.

Gemma started out at the University of Birmingham, where she studied for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science before completing a doctorate in Epidemiology. Her primary area of expertise is conducting large, school-based research studies on physical and mental health. Gemma joined King’s in 2015, having previously worked at Imperial College London as coordinator of a school-based study of cognitive development during adolescence. 

Gemma coordinates the Resilience, Ethnicity and AdolesCent mental Health (REACH, www.thereachstudy.com) study, a school-based cohort study of adolescent mental health in inner-city London. REACH is investigating risk and protective factors for mental health among young people from diverse backgrounds. Gemma also coordinates an extensive public engagement programme and advises on several other school-based projects at the Institute.

If you'd like to learn more about REACH and Gemma's work, check out these podcasts or follow her on Twitter (@Gem_K_1):​

Research Subject Areas

  • Social epidemiology
  • Youth mental health

Research Interests

  • Social epidemiology
  • Youth mental health
  • Social injustice
  • Longitudinal modelling
  • Coproducing research with young people

Teaching

  • Statistics for mental health research I
  • Statistics for mental health research II
  • Society and mental health 

    Research

    reach-study-crop-cropped-780x440
    Resilience, Ethnicity & AdolesCent Mental Health

    REACH aims to understand the impact that social circumstances and experiences have on young people’s mental health as they grow up in south London

    Project status: Ongoing

    centre-society-mental-health
    Social Epidemiology Research Group

    The Social Epidemiology Research Group primarily focuses on how social contexts, interactions and experiences shape the occurrence, outcome, and management of mental health problems. Our goal is to provide evidence on the relationships between all aspects of society and mental health problems that can inform the development of interventions, mental health services, public health programmes, and social policies in order to prevent the onset and improve outcomes of mental health problems.

    depression-news
    Social change, transitions and youth mental health

    Investigating whether widespread social changes are linked to the rise in mental health problems among young people.

    Project status: Ongoing

    STEP logo
    The STEP (Schools Training to Enhance support for LGBT+ young People) Study

    The STEP Study investigates what training is available to schools to support LGBT+ young people and how this training can be improved.

    Project status: Ongoing

    shutterstock_1794345793
    Structural and life course determinants of LGBTQ+ health inequalities

    Leveraging King’s data and expertise to enhance understanding and move into action.

    Project status: Ongoing

    News

    A Mentally Healthier Nation: support from ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health

    The new ‘A Mentally Healthier Nation’ report by the Centre for Mental Health has called for cross-cutting policy to increasing mental health. The report’s...

    People in a Street

    REACH team recognised for work improving adolescent mental health

    A team of King’s researchers generating new information on the impact of social factors on young people’s mental health has been shortlisted for a Public...

    The REACH team

    Child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

    For Children’s Mental Health Week, we highlight some of IoPPN's research into the impact of COVID-19 on child and adolescent mental health, and potential...

    children-covid

    Increase in mental distress among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

    New research from ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health (CSMH) and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London...

    Teenager

    New policy briefing calls for action to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of young people

    Researchers at King’s College London and Oxford University have outlined a series of recommendations to address anticipated short- and long-term challenges...

    Girl at school with mask. Photo by Muneer ahmed ok on Unsplash

    Researchers work with young people to understand mental health challenges and the impacts of lockdown

    In the latest episode of the WORLD: we got this podcast, Dr Gemma Knowles talks about the ground-breaking research being undertaken to understand and support...

    Group of diverse modern teenagers wearing protective masks

    REACH Study on inner-city London schools highlights need for localised support for youth mental health

    Dr Gemma Knowles, Research Associate, and Professor Craig Morgan, Professor of Social Epidemiology, lead the REACH Project, based at the ESRC Centre for...

    Teenagers sitting in a square

    REACH study to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in young people

    An existing King’s College London project that is researching the mental health of young people from diverse backgrounds and inner-city areas will be...

    REACH study to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in young people

    Events

    20AprDenmark Hill campus sign

    Demystifying Impact

    This event is an opportunity to hear from others on their journey toward research impact, with sessions on how to maximise your own impact.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    07NovREACH study crop

    Young voices: a collaborative event sharing findings from the REACH study

    The REACH study presents key emerging findings in a collaborative event co-produced by young people.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    Pandemic impacts on mental health of young people: the REACH study

    The REACH Study have published a series of reports on the impact of Covid-19 on adolescent mental health.

    Young people attending the REACH Festival.

    How has COVID-19 impacted children and young people?

    Since children and adolescents were considered a low health risk, they were far from a priority in the early stages of the pandemic. But with the disruption...

    Untitled (780 × 440 px) (1903 × 558 px) (1)

    Youth Mental Health and Covid-19: How can we build back fairer?

    In 2021, a Policy Lab was held as the culminating event of a jointly run conference exploring the impacts of COVID-19 and related responses on the mental...

    policy briefing 3

      Research

      reach-study-crop-cropped-780x440
      Resilience, Ethnicity & AdolesCent Mental Health

      REACH aims to understand the impact that social circumstances and experiences have on young people’s mental health as they grow up in south London

      Project status: Ongoing

      centre-society-mental-health
      Social Epidemiology Research Group

      The Social Epidemiology Research Group primarily focuses on how social contexts, interactions and experiences shape the occurrence, outcome, and management of mental health problems. Our goal is to provide evidence on the relationships between all aspects of society and mental health problems that can inform the development of interventions, mental health services, public health programmes, and social policies in order to prevent the onset and improve outcomes of mental health problems.

      depression-news
      Social change, transitions and youth mental health

      Investigating whether widespread social changes are linked to the rise in mental health problems among young people.

      Project status: Ongoing

      STEP logo
      The STEP (Schools Training to Enhance support for LGBT+ young People) Study

      The STEP Study investigates what training is available to schools to support LGBT+ young people and how this training can be improved.

      Project status: Ongoing

      shutterstock_1794345793
      Structural and life course determinants of LGBTQ+ health inequalities

      Leveraging King’s data and expertise to enhance understanding and move into action.

      Project status: Ongoing

      News

      A Mentally Healthier Nation: support from ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health

      The new ‘A Mentally Healthier Nation’ report by the Centre for Mental Health has called for cross-cutting policy to increasing mental health. The report’s...

      People in a Street

      REACH team recognised for work improving adolescent mental health

      A team of King’s researchers generating new information on the impact of social factors on young people’s mental health has been shortlisted for a Public...

      The REACH team

      Child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

      For Children’s Mental Health Week, we highlight some of IoPPN's research into the impact of COVID-19 on child and adolescent mental health, and potential...

      children-covid

      Increase in mental distress among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

      New research from ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health (CSMH) and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London...

      Teenager

      New policy briefing calls for action to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of young people

      Researchers at King’s College London and Oxford University have outlined a series of recommendations to address anticipated short- and long-term challenges...

      Girl at school with mask. Photo by Muneer ahmed ok on Unsplash

      Researchers work with young people to understand mental health challenges and the impacts of lockdown

      In the latest episode of the WORLD: we got this podcast, Dr Gemma Knowles talks about the ground-breaking research being undertaken to understand and support...

      Group of diverse modern teenagers wearing protective masks

      REACH Study on inner-city London schools highlights need for localised support for youth mental health

      Dr Gemma Knowles, Research Associate, and Professor Craig Morgan, Professor of Social Epidemiology, lead the REACH Project, based at the ESRC Centre for...

      Teenagers sitting in a square

      REACH study to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in young people

      An existing King’s College London project that is researching the mental health of young people from diverse backgrounds and inner-city areas will be...

      REACH study to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in young people

      Events

      20AprDenmark Hill campus sign

      Demystifying Impact

      This event is an opportunity to hear from others on their journey toward research impact, with sessions on how to maximise your own impact.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      07NovREACH study crop

      Young voices: a collaborative event sharing findings from the REACH study

      The REACH study presents key emerging findings in a collaborative event co-produced by young people.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      Pandemic impacts on mental health of young people: the REACH study

      The REACH Study have published a series of reports on the impact of Covid-19 on adolescent mental health.

      Young people attending the REACH Festival.

      How has COVID-19 impacted children and young people?

      Since children and adolescents were considered a low health risk, they were far from a priority in the early stages of the pandemic. But with the disruption...

      Untitled (780 × 440 px) (1903 × 558 px) (1)

      Youth Mental Health and Covid-19: How can we build back fairer?

      In 2021, a Policy Lab was held as the culminating event of a jointly run conference exploring the impacts of COVID-19 and related responses on the mental...

      policy briefing 3