Allow me to introduce… Me (Jed Winstanley)
Hello and welcome to the official blog site for the CARMS Project (Cognitive AppRoaches to coMbatting Suicidality)!
My name is Jed Winstanley and I will be authoring and inviting you to take a look at a series of monthly blog posts surrounding all aspects of the CARMS Project.
First, a little about me…
I graduated from Lancaster University with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences and Edge Hill University with a MSc Psychology (Conversion) degree. I’ve been volunteering as a research assistant at the CARMS Project since February. Whilst studying at Lancaster University I completed an internship. This involved researching, setting up and, ultimately, editing a student blog site which aimed to enhance students’ employability skills through blogging and using social media networking websites. I found this to be a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience. So you can probably imagine my excitement when I was asked to contribute to the CARMS Project through writing and disseminating their monthly blog!
Now, I would like to tell you all about the CARMS Project.
CARMS is a new psychological talking therapy that applies a novel psychotherapeutic approach, named cognitive-behavioural prevention for suicidality in psychosis (CBSP). This aims to reduce suicidality in people who experience or have experienced psychosis and suicidal thoughts or feelings. Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Manchester and Lancaster University are collaborating on a multi-centre randomised control trial that aims to investigate the efficacy of therapy used in CARMS, known as the CARMS Project. A key aspect of CARMS is that it also seeks to understand the pathways to suicidal thoughts and acts as experienced by individuals, including their own personal stories.
After reading this you may be wondering why I chose to become a volunteer for the CARMS Project.
Well, the field of mental health really captivated me upon starting my undergraduate studies. It was in my first year of university that I witnessed the distress that people with mental health problems experience. Since then I have made every effort to study and attempt to understand mental health problems across many domains. For instance, I have read as many mental health-related personal memoirs, biographies and self-help books as possible. I have also talked to many people with lived experience of mental health problems in my current job as a mental healthcare assistant. Furthermore, throughout my 4 years of university, I tailored my assignments in a way that allowed me to further probe the numerous competing explanations of mental health problems. For example, my undergraduate dissertation was a literature review entitled ‘The pathophysiology of depression and current therapeutic approaches’. So I spent many months sifting through the literature about the biological origins of depression. In addition, my postgraduate research project was titled ‘The effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on the neurobiology of the acute stress response: A relationship with the trait of extraversion’. I used a transcranial magnetic stimulation intervention in my MSc dissertation project, which is typically used as a contemporary therapeutic approach for people with treatment-resistant depression. Despite my sample of healthy students, the clinical relevance of my findings – that I could reduce a person’s physiological stress response by stimulating their brain – absolutely fascinated me and reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in the field of mental health. Now I am interested in gaining an insight into how other therapeutic approaches, particularly psychological interventions, are researched and implemented. So it is for this reason that I wanted to become a volunteer for the CARMS Project.
I’d like to conclude here by thanking you for taking the time to read this introductory blog post. I look forward to seeing you here again next month!
Next time: ‘A Day in the Life of… A Chief Investigator’: Dr Trish Gooding shares her experience of being a CI for the CARMS Project and her experiences of mental health problems