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Research Interests

An overview of the research topics and questions that currently spark my interest. 

Mental health stigma, healthcare education and training, and digital technologies

How can digital technologies, particularly virtual reality, be effectively integrated into healthcare education and training to enhance learning experiences for future healthcare professionals and to improve patient care?

My PhD research revolves around the use of virtual reality as an innovative tool in healthcare education to bridge the gap in understanding the subjective experience of patients with mental health conditions. This is crucial because healthcare students and professionals often express stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness. At the same time, traditional stigma reduction interventions, while valuable, have limitations, and mental health patients are still facing stigma and discrimination in healthcare, leading to alarmingly poor health outcomes. Therefore, through my research, I seek to uncover whether and how virtual reality interventions can effectively immerse future healthcare professionals in first-person scenarios, fostering empathy and reducing stigmatising attitudes towards mental health patients.

What is the impact of healthcare professionals' training/work conditions on their mental health and wellbeing, and how do these influence the overall quality of healthcare services?

Within the broader exploration of training/work conditions in healthcare, a particular focus of my research relates to the experience of healthcare professionals returning to clinical work after periods of absence or break, a group who often report reduced confidence and heightened stress during this critical transition. I am particularly interested in understanding how healthcare organisations can support the personal skills and wellbeing of returning professionals, and how this support translates to positive work-related outcomes, including increased work engagement, reduced turnover intentions, and enhanced patient satisfaction. Additionally, I am interested in researching the dynamics of mental health disclosure and help-seeking among healthcare professionals, including students and trainees, how training/work conditions and organisational culture impact healthcare professionals' willingness to disclose and seek help for mental health difficulties, and also how these interact with individual characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ identity, etc.

What are the experiences of mental health patients within physical health settings, and how can these insights inform the development of person-centred care that effectively integrates both their physical and mental health needs?

Another strand of my research is dedicated to understanding the firsthand experiences of mental health patients and/or their caregivers in physical health settings, emphasising the impact of stigma and discrimination on perpetuating healthcare inequalities. At the same time, I aim to elucidate the perspectives of healthcare professionals, exploring the challenges they face and the support they need for effective care provision when it comes to mental health patients. These insights will serve as the foundation for new and better healthcare policies, interventions, and practices targeted at reducing stigma and discrimination and improving the quality of physical care for patients with mental health conditions.

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