Dr Dasha Nicholls, Clinical Reader in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Brain Sciences

“Since COVID-19 struck, I have worked as hard as ever, clinically and academically, but now it’s from home. The first task was getting all our existing research up and running again…”

I moved to Imperial in May 2018 after 23 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital as a trainee, lecturer and then Consultant and Joint Head of the National Feeding and Eating Disorders Service. Now as a Clinical Reader in Child Psychiatry, I spend part of my working week in Central and North West London NHS Trust’s eating disorders service for children and young people and various advisory roles for the NHS, and the rest of my week on research.  

Since COVID-19 struck, I have worked as hard as ever, clinically and academically, but now it’s from home. The first task was getting all our existing research up and running again, including finding new projects for BSc students and research fellows, and moving teaching, supervision and psychological testing online for our Imagine Study looking at motivational processes in self harm and binge eating or purging.     

You may know that a mental health pandemic is expected in the wake of COVID-19. Average scores on mental health measures are now averaging near clinical thresholds in adults, and higher in women, BAME groups and keyworkers. Through the North West London Applied Research Collaboration, where I am lead for mental health and multimorbidity, we have applied for funding to look at the mental health and wellbeing of NHS and social care staff, and to explore whether interventions offered through workplaces help.     

I’ve also been involved in three survey studies about how young people have coped with the COVID-19 lockdown: The CCopeY study led by Lindsay Dewa in the Institute for Global Health Innovationthe YouCope study led by UCL, both looking at 16-24 year olds, and our own Kids Lockdown Eating Study at Imperial, looking at how children and young people’s eating behaviours changed during lockdown as a result of emotional over or undereating – for which we are still recruiting.     

Follow us at @Imperial_CAMH or @DashaNicholls to hear more about what we are doing. 

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