Provost Eunice Ma discusses mental health project on BBC podcast

21 January 2022

Young adults cutting out pieces of coloured paper
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Professor Minhua Eunice Ma, Provost of Falmouth University, spoke to Dr Daisy Fancourt and Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke on the BBC’s Arts & Ideas podcast about how creativity and technology can help improve mental health and wellbeing in young adolescents.

Professor Ma is co-leading the ATTUNE research project, which will combine the expertise of several leading universities, charities and young people’s groups to work directly with young people who have suffered adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

In tandem with a panel of young people, ATTUNE will explore how creative practices such as music, art, dance and storytelling can play a role in tackling trauma and multiple adversity. The study hopes to spark a change in the way mental health is understood and then addressed by community services. 

The study will use creative practices to help young people tell their stories and outline their preferences for treatment, leading to them co-design new ways of providing help and care. 

Their responses will then be mapped, synthesised and compared to find impactful opportunities for protecting and promoting adolescents’ mental health.

Speaking on the podcast, Eunice said, “Young people’s mental health is such an important area. A recent government suicide prevention report shows that over the last decade the number of suicides has gone up, mostly for people aged 10-24 years old and in middle aged men. The ATTUNE project will focus on the 10-24 age range. 

“The research also shows that by the age of 8, 7/10 children have experienced at least one ACE. ACEs cluster in socio-economically deprived areas, and they can have a mental health impact across an individual’s entire life. They can even reduce life expectancy by up to 20 years.

“It’s an incredibly important topic for our project to tackle.”

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