Cleo Baskin, Research Assistant at Imperial College London talks to us about her involvement in the public mental health programme and getting her first public health research paper published.
What are your main research interests?
Broadly, I am interested in research that contributes to alleviating the increasing burden of mental health across the world. I am particularly interested in how we can strengthen our mental health systems so that they are resilient in tough times (such as the COVID-19 pandemic or events related to climate change) and have the capacity to offer accessible and equitable services for everyone.
Can you tell me about your work at the School?
I work on the public mental health programme. A lot of my research has focussed on how we can improve the mental health and wellbeing of ethnic minority groups in the UK, for which I have conducted a scoping review to identify promising evidence for community-based interventions.
I am currently working on developing a theoretical framework for co-locating public mental health services in community spaces using a methodology called realist evaluation. Through a series of case studies we will explore if this model of service delivery is able to expand access to public mental health services for underserved populations.
What impact has this research had?
This research highlights the lack of high-quality evidence published on community-centred interventions that improve the mental health and wellbeing of ethnic minorities in the UK. We know that this is not in line with service provision and so this work may be exposing a bias in terms of scientific priorities and funding. Through this paper we hope there will be progress toward ensuring that community organisations have the financial and technical capacity to either conduct or commission the evaluation of their services, so that knowledge may be shared.
What made you decide to have a career in public health research?
I started my studies on a path to become a clinical psychologist. However, I found myself much more orientated to thinking about how much of the burden of mental health could be prevented if we placed stronger emphasis on improving people’s socioeconomic conditions. This led me to undertake a master’s in public health where I realised my love for conducting research.
What has been the highlight of your research career?
This research was my first publication as a first author- a milestone and proud achievement for me!
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in public health research?
I would advise everyone to carve out a research concentration (whether that be a topic or methodology) as public health is so broad.