The Centre for Performance Science was part of one of eight Mental Health Networks announced by UKRI to bring researchers, charities, and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions.
The Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network brought together researchers, health practitioners, charities, people with lived experience of mental ill health, and other organisations to understand how mental health and social connections relate to each other. Researchers included clinical researchers, psychologists, social scientists, neuroscientists, and specialists in the arts and in digital innovations. Over the course of three and a half years the network scoped current evidence and on-going work, identify research priorities, and provide seed-funding for small projects. The aim was to better understand the direction and nature of the links between loneliness and social isolation and mental health problems, and to plant the seeds for work to reduce the burden of mental ill health by reducing loneliness and social isolation.
The network was led by Professor Sonia Johnson and Dr Alexandra Pitman, both from the UCL Division of Psychiatry, as part of a team of 12 co-investigators at the University of Birmingham, LSE, the Royal College of Music, UCL, and the University of Northumbria. The network was supported by third sector and policy partners, including Wellbeing Enterprises CIC, the Campaign to End Loneliness, the Bromley By Bow Centre, Social Spider CIC, the Mental Elf, and Public Health England. The CPS contributed particular expertise on the arts and their potential in fostering and supporting social connections.