Taking steps for adolescent mental health
Our new President, Professor Fiona Watt, explains why she’s walking the Thames Bridges Trek on 11 September 2021. Professor Watt is Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC).
While young people affected by eating disorders and self-harm need our support more than ever, so do the medical research charities that form such a vital part of the UK’s research ecosystem.Professor Fiona Watt
Executive Chair of the MRC and Medical Research Foundation President
Four years ago, the MRC and the Medical Research Foundation identified eating disorders and self-harm research as an area where we could make a real difference to adolescent mental health. Since then, together we’ve invested £3.9 million into 13 ground-breaking research projects, which are helping to pinpoint the causes and triggers of these devastating conditions.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, eating disorders and self-harm were already affecting increasing numbers of young people. Today the need for new research is even greater, as we know the pandemic will have impacted the mental health of many young people affected by these conditions.
During Mental Health Awareness Week last month, the Foundation announced a further commitment to tackling eating disorders and self-harm, with an investment of £1.2m in four new fellowships. They are seeking the support of people like us to help them continue to combat one of the most pressing health issues for young people today.
While young people affected by eating disorders and self-harm need our support more than ever, so do the medical research charities that form such a vital part of the UK’s research ecosystem. 2020 was an incredibly tough year for these charities, and it’s only now they can start looking forward to fundraising events that will help to raise much-needed funds.
It is for all of these reasons that I’m delighted to be joining the Foundation’s team of walkers at September’s Thames Bridges Trek.
The 25km route takes in 16 of London’s bridges, starting out in Putney and finishing shortly after Tower Bridge. The Foundation team will provide full support along the way, leaving you to focus on your challenge and enjoy a glass of fizz at the end with the rest of the team.
After more than a year confined to our home offices, I’m encouraging all of my MRC colleagues to get outside and pull on their walking shoes in September – with every step raising vital funds for research into eating disorders and self-harm. Find out more about how you can get involved.