News & Latest 18.07.2022

We are hiring: Summer internship at the University of Cambridge

Summer internship at the University of Cambridge, Applied Research Collaboration, National Institute for Health 

Assessing mental health services in the East of England 

The National Institute of Health Research, Applied Research Collaboration, East of England based at the University of Cambridge, is delighted to offer an internship this summer for undergraduate students. This position is an excellent opportunity for those with an interest in mental health and contemporary public policy to gain first-hand experience in working within an academic research team and conducting high level policy research. 

We welcome applications from undergraduates and those entering their final year in nursing, allied health, psychology, medicine, relevant practitioner degree courses, social work and the social sciences. 

The research 

Interns will help develop an assessment and directory of mental health services and needs in the East of England particularly in the ‘left behind’ and coastal areas which face high rates of poverty and mental health issues. This will examine levels of access, quality (where possible) and gaps in provision. Currently the evidence and knowledge on these issues is limited. A who, what, where and when resource is urgently needed in order to address this evidence gap and the rising needs of mental health issues among children and adults.  

Successful applicants will work with one other intern based at the University of East Anglia. Both interns will be supervised by Dr Adam P. Coutts (Mental health and care research capacity lead in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge), and Professor Kristy Sanderson (Applied Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia). 

Interns will also receive guidance and support from local policy decision makers and senior civil servants in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) as well as local civil society organisations and charities. 

How to apply

Interested candidates can email Dr Adam Coutts for further information: 

Deadline for applications is Friday July 29th 

Further information about the work of the ARC on mental health can be found here: 

Pay and duration 

Four weeks full time at 9.50GBP per hour. The start date is from mid-August onwards. We are flexible to working hours 

Please submit applications to: Dr Adam Coutts: 

  • One page CV  
  • Half a page cover letter outlining how you would respond to the following policy question 

    ‘Millions of people now face mental health challenges as a result of the social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing cost of living crisis. Poverty and deprivation have increased, and we are now witnessing the emergence of ‘left behind areas’ across the United Kingdom. Given the overwhelming demand on already overstretched frontline public services, urgent action is needed from all policy areas including those outside the NHS.  

    Please describe what you think are the key mental health challenges that individuals and communities face in the East of England. What are difficulties and opportunities which policy decision makers must navigate to help vulnerable individuals and communities?  

Overview of our current research and policy areas 

  • The crisis of mental health in the coastal towns of the EoE such as Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Southend and parts of Thurrock. This is linked to socio-economic disadvantage including low and interrupted educational attainment and lack of jobs, and with long-term physical health conditions. They are shared with coastal areas nationally, and are highlighted in the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) 2021 Annual Report that notes COVID-19 has deepened health inequalities. This ambition drives an emerging ‘Coastal Town Mental Health Research Collaboration’ with PenARC and other ARCs supporting coastal communities as an interest group within the national mental health and wellbeing research network. 

  • The treatment gap whereby too few people with mental health disorders receive effective, evidence-based care. We shall work in settings including but also beyond primary and secondary mental health services. We already work with schools (Ford) on novel methods (Lancet Psychiatry, 2021) to identify and measure emotional and behavioural problems, accelerating access to early interventions. We shall extend this approach into places such as local authority services and social care providers, Jobcentres Plus and third-sector organisations, linking those in need to existing MH services and innovative, community-led community mental and physical health hubs supported by the New Anglia LEP and Eastern AHSN. We shall collaborate closely with PenARC through our complementary research programmes set in IAPT services, and benefit from Eastern AHSN’s leadership in rapid evidence synthesis regarding psychological interventions. 

  • The mortality gap associated with mental illness arising from people dying by suicide, and the disproportionate prevalence of physical co-morbidity in people with severe, functionally debilitating mental disorders (SMI) linked with socio-economic inequality. Improvement of physical health in people with SMI and suicide prevention are national priorities.