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Falling Walls Circle Table: Do we Need a New Super Science for Mental Health?

Falling Walls Foundation | Miranda Wolpert, Obi Felten, Shuranjeet Singh, Megan Jones Bell

LIVE: Setting the Post-Corona-Agenda

We need a radical new approach to mental health science. The suggestion is that we need to help create a field of mental health science that is that is more inclusive of diverse voices; more collaborative; more focused on outcomes rather than causes and with greater agreement on core concepts and metrics. This is the approach suggested by a new £200  million mental health strategy being proposed by Wellcome Trust. More information can be found here.

But is this analysis correct? In this panel, an expert group encompassing both academics and innovators along those with lived experience of mental health problems shed light into an undervalued topic. The panel consists of Obi Felten of X, the moonshot factory, Miranda Wolpert of Wellcome Trust, Meghan Jones Bell of HeadSpace, and Shuranjeet Thakur, a Lived Experience Advocate.

Together, we will explore the following questions:

  • How have we ended up where we are in mental health science?
  • Who are the voices we are not hearing from? Who do we hear too much of?
  • What are the questions we are not asking that we should be asking?
  • What is the role of those with lived experience in creating a new vision?
  • What is the role of the commercial sector?
  • What is the goal of science in mental health? Understand how the brain works? Cure mental health problems?
  • Should we be funding more basic science or more applied science or more implementation science?
  • What is the role of digital; Including data collection, data analysis, digital diagnostic, digital therapeutic delivery and digital information? What are we hoping from it? What are we afraid of?
  • What are the funding models we should go with? Should we move beyond traditional grants?
  • What challenges do we envisage facing and what changes can we all make to start overcoming these?
  • Who do we need to convince to see necessart changes happen? How do we convince them?

Falling Walls Circle Tables will give the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

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Miranda Wolpert

Wellcome Trust

Professor Miranda Wolpert heads the Mental Health Priority Area at Wellcome Trust. The overall vision is a world where no one is held back by mental health problems.

Prof Wolpert is also Professor in Evidence Based Research and practice at UCL and founded the Evidence Based Practice Unit, which is dedicated to bridging research and practice in youth mental health. Between 2012-2019, she was NHS England’s National Informatics Advisor for Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

Prof Wolpert has extensive experience as a clinical psychologist for NHS England and in schools. Her experiences working with young people and families led her to co-found the Child Outcomes Research Consortium, a learning collaboration focused on understanding the impact of mental health and wellbeing support through collecting and using outcome evidence. In 2017, Miranda was awarded an MBE for her services to children and young people’s mental health.

Obi Felten

X, the moonshot factory

Obi leads early stage projects at X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory. Previously she was Director of Consumer Marketing for Google in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before Google, Obi launched the ecommerce business of a major UK retailer, worked as a strategy consultant, and led eToys.com’s (unsuccessful) expansion to Germany during the first dotcom era. She set up Campus, a Google-funded space for London tech entrepreneurs.  Obi serves on the board of Springer Nature, a global academic and educational publisher, BfB Labs, a social tech startup designing digital interventions to improve youth mental health, the Wellcome Trust mental health priority area and on the interim board setting up the Healthy Brains Global Initiative. She is also a trustee of Shift, a charity designing products to address social problems.

Obi has a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Oxford University. She grew up in Berlin and saw the wall come down. She now lives in California with her husband and children. She loves yoga, bicycling, travelling, contemporary art and design, cooking, eating and her family.

Shuranjeet Singh

University of Toronto

Shuranjeet Singh is the founder and director of Tarakī, a movement working with Punjabi communities to reshape approaches to mental health which he started after his own mental health challenges as a student. Shuranjeet is currently pursuing a Masters in Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto through an Oxford-Canada scholarship. His interests lie at the intersections of healthcare, society, and social inequalities. Shuranjeet has recently become more interested in the process of knowledge production in mental health.

Megan Jones Bell

Headspace

Dr. Megan Jones Bell is chief strategy and science of cer at Headspace, a leader in the eld of digital health and a visionary in making mental health care more effective, affordable, and accessible globally.

Prior to Headspace, Megan was chief science of cer and scienti c founder at Lantern, an evidence-based digital mental health company. She is also an adjunct clinical assistant professor at Stanford University. At Stanford, Megan was previously an attending psychologist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, associate co-director of the Laboratory for the Study of Behavioral Medicine and director of the Healthy Body Image Program. Her academic and advocacy work has been recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. House of Representatives, the European Union, and Stanford University, among others.

Megan earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, graduating cum laude from the University of California, San Diego. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from PGSP-Stanford University, and completed fellowships at Yale University and Stanford University School of Medicine.

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