Dr Siobhan Hugh-Jones

Dr Siobhan Hugh-Jones

Profile

Siobhan is Associate Professor of Mental Health Psychology in the School of Psychology, University of Leeds. She has an academic career of over 20 years. Having gained her BSc Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, and her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Sheffield, she joined the University of Leeds in 1998. Her work has spanned developmental, clinical and applied health psychology, especially adolescent mental health, school based interventions, mindfulness and qualitative, participatory and co-design methods. She also works with technology partners to develop digital ways of reaching teenagers with mental health support. In 2019, Siobhan took up the lead for the University's Global Mental Health sub-theme, working to establish new interdisciplinary collaborations to respond to pressing global mental health challenges. 

Responsibilities

  • Global Mental Health theme lead

Research interests

Siobhan is interested in understanding the nature, origin and experience of mental health difficulties, particularly in adolescents, and in investigating the potential of co-designed programs as prevention and early intervention. Adolescence appears to be a time of heightened vulnerablity to the onset of mental health difficulties. There is still much to learn about why this is the case, whether difficulties can be prevented, and what form of intervention post-onset is the most acceptable, effective and sustainable in differnt areasna (e.g. schools, community, primary care). Siobhan is also interested in global mental health, and in working with collaborators in low-and-middle income countries, to address adolescent mental health in different contexts, with varying attitudes, resources and needs. She collaborates with national and international academics, the third sector, local government, digital innovation services, mental health and educational services, young people, families/carers and schools, and has expertise in the co-design and evaluation of school interventions and the scholarly application of creative qualitative research methods (especially visual methods) to examine psychological functioning, well-being and health.

Current research

Understanding risk and resilience in India young people around substance use disorder

Siobhan is Co-I on an ESRC / AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund project (2018-2020) using photovoice to enhance psychological, social and cultural insights into the prevention and treatment of substance abuse in youth in India. Based in Assam, India, this project aims to understand how young people who are at risk of substance dependence (given familial risk) manage to remain safe and psychologically well. The team are examing how some young people come successfully through treatment for substance abuse disorders (which has varying outcomes for many). Learning more about the experiences of both of these groups will help us to understand resilience (and therefore possibly promote it among other young people) and 'what works' for treatment. This project keeps young people's perspectives and needs at the centre, and through photovoice, the team will be generating films, exhibitions and social media campaigns to challenge myths about substance dependence as well to as raise the 'voice' of young people in the mental health arena. The team will be helping institutions to explore potential therapeutic uses of photovoice for their service-users, and  will also be mapping the way that evidence on mental health is taken up in policies, and what status user perspectives can have. Follow on Twitter @UKProResilience.

Improving parent / carer mental health literacy 

Leeds has an impressive strategy for supporting the mental health of its young people. As part of this, Siobhan leads current project to co-design and implement resources for parents / carers who are worried about their young person's mental health. Parental / carer mental health literacy refers to their understanding of mental health, signs and symptoms of changes in mental health vs normal teenage behavious, what ways of support can help, and where and when to engage other services. These resources will be available via Leeds MindMate and will be evaluated. Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group is funding this project (2019-2020). 

Exploring the potential of immersive technologies for adolescent mental health

Funded by the Medical Research Council’s Proximity to Development Fund, this project (2019-2020) spans city-wide consultation in Leeds to determine the vision and concerns for the use of immersive technology for adolescent mental health within UK schools, and to deliver a proof-of -concept feasliblty study by the end of 2020.  Working in partnerhsip with Another Space, this project will include extensive co-design by young people to determine how they see the future of technology in supporting their mental health. To find out more, email s.hugh-jones@leeds.ac.uk

Completed research

Co-design of digital mental health interventiosn for UK schools

Siobhan recently led an MRC funded project (2017-2019) which co-deisgned and feasiblity tested a smartphone delivered psychoeducational resource to young people who self-referred as experiencing deteriorating mental health. This resource was designed to address transdiagnsotic risk factors, and to be available only in secondary schools, with wrap-around human support. The team represented a collaboration between young people, schools, parents / carers, digital innovation services, Leeds CCG and MindMate. The project tested the prototype in four secondary schools in Leeds. Outcomes will be reported by Autumn 2019. A next stage RCT is planned. 

Whole school approaches to mindfulness

Siobhan led an ESRC knowledge exchange program examining the ways in which mindfulness based programs might be deliverable in UK schools, delivered commissioned reports to Clinical Commissioning Groups and to an All-Party Parliamentary Group on the evidence for mindfulness based interventions with young people, and has Chaired a White Rose Consortium on Mindfulness in Schools, which has published a systematic review on mindfulness for teachers.

Understanding school stress as a risk factors for poor mental health 

Adolescent mental health difficulties are often triggered by adverse events or chronic stress. Siobhan leads a study to understand, from young people's perspectives, the routine aspects of school life that contibute to chronic stress (2018-2020). 

Doctoral students

Siobhan has supervised over 12 students to completion, many funded via scholarships, mostly drawing upon qualitative methods to explore aspects of well-being and mental health. Current Phds (~2018-2021) include Understanding the experiences of left-behind children in China (S Dong), Co-design and testing of digital mindfulness interventions for adolescents (Q Zhang), Understanding counsellor safety (R Haslam) and Low-income men's experience of well-being (M Jestico).

Qualifications

  • PhD Developmental Psychology
  • BSc Psychology
  • Certificate in Counselling
  • Postgraduate Teaching & Learning in Higher Education

Professional memberships

  • British Psychological Society
  • Anna Freud Learning Network: Schools in Mind
  • ESRC Emerging Minds Network
  • ESRC eNuture Network
  • Mental Health Innovation Network

Student education

Siobhan teaches applied health psychology (intervention design), qualitative methods, introduction to psychological approaches to mental health, and advanced developmental psychology. Siobhan also supervises undergraduate and Masters projects in adolescent mental health.

Research groups and institutes

  • Health and social psychology
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>