For the public, from the public

populationhealthOur research is only made possible because of public support for it. The public play a vital role in supporting our research, both by taking part in health-related research studies as participants, or via public funding and charitable donations which makes scientific research, including our own (funded by the Wellcome Trust), possible.

We want to acknowledge our gratitude for this public support on these pages. We think it’s important that we let the public know about the science that we do, and why we think it matters. So, on these pages you can read more about the scientific research methods we use (which rely on a branch of population health called epidemiology), as well as more information and facts about mental health and illness.

We have also provided links for anyone who is worried about their own mental, or the mental health of a friend or family member. You can find out about the latest results and news from our lab over on our blog. All our data comes from volunteers, whether they are taking part in our research studies in the UK, Sweden or Canada. You can find our how we protect and look after this data here. You can use the links on the right hand side to navigate this section.

Epidemiology for the public, from the public

Our PsyLife research is based on epidemiological principles and study designs (find out more here). What’s important about these studies in general (as well as our own research) is that the data come from the public who agree to share their time and data with researchers for the benefit of public health.

Over the past century this generosity has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the causes of different disorders (for example, smoking and lung cancer) and strategies to improve public health (for example, immunization campaigns, fluoridation of drinking water or legislation to improve motor vehicle safety; for more, see the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s top ten public health accomplishments of the 20th Century). Epidemiology was also central to establishing a link between neural tube defects in newborns and insufficient folic acid intake by mother’s during pregnancy.

Psychiatric epidemiology has also been pivotal in demonstrating the high prevalence (total occurrence of disorder at any one time) of mental health disorders in the population: as many as 1 in 5 people may be experiencing a mental health disorder at any particular time. In regard to schizophrenia, some of the major accomplishments of psychiatric epidemiology have been establishing links between the risk of disorder and smoking cannabis, being born or brought-up in more urban environments or being a member of an ethnic minority group. PsyLife’s epidemiological research continues to investigate questions in relation to some of these topics. An overview of the research we do can be found here.


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