Health data and mental health research

Using health data for research helps us better understand diseases and health condition.

Such as understanding their causes and symptoms or knowing how many people are affected. It provides new ways of identifying people most at risk of becoming ill, diagnosing diseases earlier and providing better care and treatment.

What do people think about data for mental health?

We surveyed 24 people who have experienced a mental health condition themselves, or have a close friend of family member who does.

The results

89% were unaware of any mental health research using health data

93% want to see more research into how mental and physical health are linked

82% said they would support de-identified data being linked to non-health data if it meant improved outcomes for people with mental health conditions.

What are researchers doing?

Dr Rona Strawbridge is exploring the genetic links between physical and mental health conditions by using large datasets.

“My research suggests that there is a genetic overlap of serious mental illness and cardiometabolic disease.”

Professor Richard Dobson’s group has developed a tool called CogStack, a tool that can extract information from doctors’ free text notes so that it can be understood by computers to provide insights.

“Using CogStack and other informatics tools, we have developed the VIEWER platform to help healthcare professional target services for psychosis in the right place and to the right people”