Hugh Grosvenor, The Duke of Westminster, has donated £1m towards Oxford University’s COVID-19 mental health research programmes. This is part of the £10m donation announced by the Westminster Foundation last month to support the national COVID-19 relief effort.
The grant will be made available through the Westminster Foundation to support the University’s Department of Psychiatry, which is at the forefront of mental health research in the UK. They are addressing a broad range of mental health issues arising from the pandemic and its impacts on the human psyche, including isolation, confinement, uncertainty, anxiety, stress and the disconnection from our social, family and work lives.
The effect of the pandemic on the mental well-being of children is of particular concern and interest to the Duke, and Westminster Foundation, which provides long-term support to vulnerable young people and families.
The University’s mental health researchers are developing diagnostic tools and crafting expert guidance for governments, schools, parents, medical professionals, therapists, carers and individuals. For example, Oxford is working with thousands of local families to track children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The results will help researchers identify what protects children and young people from deteriorating mental health over time and at particular stress points, and how this may vary according to child and family characteristics. A team of psychiatrists and researchers are also developing a set of resources to help communicate parental illness and death to children.