Children, young people & families programme, Public mental health programme
Newcastle University (Fuse)
Cassey is interested in children and young people’s mental health and resilience, parental substance misuse and impacts on young people, young people’s health behaviours (including nutrition and alcohol use) and health psychology.
What has been your career journey so far?
I trained in Psychology (BSc) and Health Psychology (MSc) alongside working and volunteering to support a wide range of people across the North East of England. During this time, I supported young people to improve their resilience. Furthermore, as an assistant psychologist I really enjoyed being involved in research projects, which led me to pursue a career in research. From then, I worked as a research assistant on a project aimed to co-design intervention strategies to promote healthier linked eating and drinking practices amongst young adults.
Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?
Whether working one to one with someone or co-producing an intervention to promote healthier behaviours, I have always been passionate about supporting people and improving their health (both physical and mental health). This passion, coupled with my enjoyment of research, and using the skills I developed throughout my training, a PhD in public health research seemed like a really good fit. I hope to continue pursuing a career in public health.
What is your research focused on?
My research focuses on exploring young peoples’ experiences of parental substance misuse, to understand from their point of view how they are impacted and how they cope day to day. Through engagement with young people and practice and policy professionals, we will begin to understand how to best promote resilience amongst young people whose parents misuse substances.
Why is it important?
Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of parental substance misuse, which is a prevalent and major child protection and public health concern. But not all children and young people are impacted the same. Some young people are vulnerable to the impacts of their parent’s substance misuse, while others are referred to as resilient. Understanding how we can better support young people whose parents misuse substances and promote resilience amongst these young people is therefore important.
What do you like about being a part of the NIHR School for Public Health Research?
I have had the opportunity to network with those working across the School, as well as engaging with practice and policy partners. Being a part of the NIHR SPHR has also facilitated my collaboration with other PhD students and members on varied research projects. Having a dedicated team to help with training and professional development is really important and I look forward to opportunities throughout my PhD. Learning from leaders in the field of public health research has also been an invaluable experience.
What skills have you learnt and/or are hoping to learn as part of your PhD?
During my PhD, I have learnt about effective public involvement and engagement, as well as implementing knowledge sharing principles. I have had the opportunity to put these skills into practice when discussing my research with professionals at forums, and also when running an advisory meeting with young people whose parents misuse substances. I am also a member of the ResNet Committee, learning skills in organising conferences and collaborating with members from across SPHR. Undergoing my PhD during the COVID-19 pandemic has also taught me a lot about being flexible, adaptive and resilient. I hope to further my skills in remote data collection, effective co-production strategies and creative dissemination.
What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?
I would like to stay within public health research, continuing to advance my skills as an independent researcher and collaborating with practice and policy partners. I aim to apply for postdoctoral funding/fellowships, exploring further the development of a resilience intervention for young people whose parents misuse substances.