In October 2023, DATAMIND hosted a workshop with MQ on Epidemiological Methods.
Lead by experienced mental health epidemiologists, the workshop was one in a series aimed at supporting early career researchers who are just starting out in Data science and mental health research. This workshop focused on teaching the researchers how to apply a range of epidemiological method to typical questions in mental health research.
One early career researcher, Saira Tahsin, attended one of the events, the DATAMIND MQ Workshop, in October and has kindly shared her experiences of the event.
For her, the message was to attend even if you’re not sure you belong because the events are fully accessible to every researcher, no matter your research career pathway nor your stage of understanding of the topic.
Saira, thank you so much for chatting with MQ Mental Health Research. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am an early-stage researcher, proudly associated with Swansea University, delving into the intriguing realm of data science within the domain of population mental health.
My current research is on a novel machine learning algorithm aimed at identifying self-harm-related features or symptoms from the SAIL databank. Looking ahead, my research aims to explore the profound impact of sexual assaults on mental health, self-harm, and suicide among females.
How did you find out about the DATAMIND workshop?
The first time I became aware of the DATAMIND-MQ Epidemiological Methods Workshop was through my supervisor. As someone without an epidemiology background, I was in search of a platform that could unravel the intricacies of epidemiological statistics and terminologies, and so making me a more well-rounded researcher.
Why did you decide to attend?
I hoped for a deeper comprehension of industry best practices in epidemiological methods for mental health research. Secondly, I aimed to connect with fellow researchers from across the United Kingdom, with the goal of accessing their collective knowledge and exploring potential collaboration opportunities.
What were the highlights for you?
The workshop proved to be an enlightening experience. Exploring topics such as Multivariable analysis to tackle confounding bias and mediation analysis was incredibly insightful. Engaging in group discussions was equally rewarding, as each team’s creativity shone brightly.
The diversity of knowledge and fresh perspectives offered by fellow attendees added immeasurable value to my learning journey.
What happened after the workshop?
Following the workshop, the MQ and DATAMIND conference awaited us, featuring researchers from various universities sharing their ongoing or published papers. The opportunity to pose questions and gain insights into the trajectory of mental health epidemiology trends was invaluable. As a specialist in machine learning, witnessing cutting-edge research in Medical Artificial Intelligence (Med AI) was profoundly inspiring.
What did you learn and what connections did you make?
I gained a broad range of knowledge, from the details of epidemiology to the current state of mental health research.
Most notably, I made a significant connection with Rina Dutta, a renowned expert in suicidology and Psychiatry at King’s College London. Our discussion on my future work regarding sexual assault and its impact on mental health, self-harm, and suicide yielded critical resources and an open invitation for further collaboration.
What did you know about MQ before the day?
Prior to the event, my knowledge of MQ was somewhat limited. It was only through my participation in the workshop and conference that I gained a profound understanding of MQ’s mission and objectives.
What do you know about MQ now?
MQ, in my eyes, is an inclusive and welcoming community, where knowledge is shared, and careers are nurtured through networking and collaboration.
How would you describe the event to someone who’s never been before?
For those who have never experienced it, imagine an environment that is open and friendly, filled with individuals eager to learn and expand their horizons through networking.
Why do you think events like this are important?
The significance of events like these in the scientific community cannot be overstated. They serve as conduits for cross-domain collaborations, fostering innovation and driving the scientific community forward.
These events address a multitude of challenges, offering an excellent starting point whether you aim to expand your knowledge, stay updated on new research and technologies, build valuable connections, or explore entering this field.
Would you recommend this event to other ECRs (Early Career Researchers)?
Without a doubt! I eagerly anticipate the next edition of this event.
Regardless of your background, there is something of substance for everyone to gain. Attendees represented a diverse spectrum including seasoned clinical and research experts alongside newcomers like me.
Even if you are a beginner in coding, you would undoubtedly find the workshop valuable. The coordinators meticulously guide participants through each analysis, ensuring that individuals of all coding proficiency levels can grasp and benefit from the content presented.
All of us attending were driven by a shared passion for deepening our understanding of epidemiology study designs and statistics with a particular focus on mental health data science.
DATAMIND is the hub for Mental Health Science, working to make best use of mental health data and to help make coordinated research possible in the field. With MQ’s support and facilitation, regular events and workshops are held for researchers to come together to learn together and network with each other.
If you want to attend the next event please sign up to the quarterly Research Roundup newsletter at the bottom of this page.