World Mental Health Day, taking place on October 10th, aims to combat stigma and raise awareness for mental health. 


To celebrate, members of the EDIT Lab have reflected on why mental health and well-being should be a global priority and the role of research in meeting this goal.  

Three themes emerged from our reflections:

  • Mental health across development
  • Diversity and mental health 
  • The pervasiveness of mental health & the importance of support

Mental health across development: 

Mental health problems may begin at a young age, present themselves through various symptoms and persist into adulthood, if left untreated. With our research, we hope to better understand the different patterns of mental health symptomatology and to identify the risk factors associated with poorer outcomes.” ~Elisavet Palaiologou (PhD student)

“When talking about health in general, there are still unfortunately false preconceptions and taboos surrounding mental health problems. My hope is that our research can help understand the vast repercussions that mental health can have and that we can ultimately contribute to the ongoing and growing conversation about the real place that mental care should have in our health care and education systems” ~Dr Genevieve Morneau-Vaillancourt

“Mental health difficulties can affect people of any age and change across a lifetime. Research plays an important role in helping to understand the factors contributing to these changes and how to best support people across development. I hope our research will highlight the need for continued conversations, funding and support of mental health initiatives around the world.” ~Celestine Lockhart (research assistant and PhD student)

“The majority of individuals who experience mental health symptoms in childhood go on to experience symptoms in adulthood. Researching why and when symptoms develop allows us to pinpoint both risk and protective factors as well as target appropriate timings for intervention” ~ Dr Ellen Thompson

Diversity and mental health: 

“Our research is beginning to understand which individuals are at risk of mental health problems or poor outcomes following treatment. But we need to improve the diversity of our participants so what we find applies to everyone.” ~Prof Thalia Eley

“Almost everyone will know someone who has struggled with mental health difficulties and know how debilitating it can be. This drives many of us to contribute to research that will ultimately help improve prevention and treatment. However, the majority of the global population are underrepresented in genetics research, as studies primarily rely on participants of European ancestry. More work is needed to ensure the experiences of underrepresented groups are included in genetics research so that everyone can benefit from any progress made.” ~Abigail ter Kuile (PhD student)

“Mental health problems can be very disabling and are often associated with many other health-related problems. They tend to worsen the situation and outlook for already vulnerable groups with increased disparities as a result. If we can continue to do research that highlights the full spectrum of human diversity worldwide it will help us understand the equally diverse settings and mechanisms that psychopathology can act through, and ultimately also be of benefit to otherwise disadvantaged groups.” ~Johan Zvrskovec (PhD student)

The pervasiveness of mental health & the importance of support

“Everybody has been affected or knows someone who has been affected by poor mental health. By researching the underlying causes of these problems, we hope that new understanding leads to more effective treatments, and reduced stigma, for those who are suffering.” ~Dr Tom McGregor

“The impacts of mental health difficulties are far-reaching especially when they begin in childhood. They can impact multiple aspects of life including emotional development, academic, vocational and occupational attainments, and interpersonal relationships. Where possible, no one should have to endure these alone when support can be provided.” ~Dr Kunle Oginni

“No one is immune from mental health problems, and they can catch up with you when you least expect it. Most people have experienced some form of poor mental health in their lives, and that’s why research such as ours that tries to identify triggers and risk factors for the start of symptoms is so important for both raising awareness, and ensuring that people know how to help themselves, and how to seek external help when in need.” ~ Shannon Bristow (research associate and PhD student)

Thandeka Mukazi

Author Thandeka Mukazi

More posts by Thandeka Mukazi