The core research underlying this impact agenda comes from four related projects on the mental health of new parents –
Funded by the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and led jointly by Paul and Ranjana (2018-2019), this project considered the often-neglected area of new fathers’ struggles with mental health difficulties, and the role of digital media as part of coping practices. This research has been published in New Media and Society, and in Social Media and Society, and has had its findings launched as a report for practitioners in September 2019.
Now written up into our new book, New Fathers, Mental Health and Digital Communication, the work identified lack of information and support opportunities for such fathers as key to their struggles.
The second project, funded by the British Academy was led by Ranjana (2016-2018) and considered the increasingly important role of technologies in maternal mental health. This work has recently been published as a monograph with Routledge, and has been disseminated via 4 journal articles and numerous talks. Some of the journal papers are linked here and here.
The research highlights the range of socially induced pressures and anxieties to which mothers are subject and gaps in care and support.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Ranjana in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (Louise Davies and Nadine Page) this work looked specifically at the mental health communication of migrant mothers. Addressing an area in which existing knowledge is limited, this work has drawn a significant amount of interest from practitioners such as the NCT and the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and has been published as a report in 2019.
This work has highlighted the diverse and particular challenges faced by migrant mothers, in addition to an emphasis on cultural roadblocks, and communicative difficulties with healthcare professionals and/or impediments in the way of seeking and finding support.
The fourth project, conducted with funding from the University of Surrey, was led by Ranjana, and looked at the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the mental health of new mothers and pregnant women. This work has highlighted urgent recommendations for maternity and pregnancy as the pandemic progresses.