Welcome to Futuremakers, from the University of Oxford, where our academics debate key issues for the future of society.
Season Four: Brain and Mental Health
Season Three: The History of Pandemics
Season Two: Climate Change
Season One: Artificial Intelligence
Special Episode: A brief history of Quantum Computing
Evidence-based strategies for suicide and self-harm prevention with Professor Seena Fazel
Please be aware that this episode refers to topics such as suicide, suicidal ideations, methods of suicide and overdose.
In Episode 9 of the series, Professor Belinda Lennox sits down with Professor Seena Fazel, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist.
Here, they discuss Oxford’s long history of suicide research, and Professor Fazel’s work identifying high-risk populations, particularly those who have been through the criminal justice system, and what clinicians can do to improve assessment and treatment of patients.
They also look at the evidence for restricting access to means, and how examining population-level data can help researchers better understand the causes of suicide.
Suicide prevention and mental health advocacy with Ben West
Please be aware that this episode refers to topics such as suicide, suicidal ideations and depression.
In the eighth episode of the series, Professor Belinda Lennox speaks to Ben West, mental health campaigner, best-selling author and social media influencer.
In 2018, Ben unexpectedly lost his brother to suicide. In this conversation, Ben shares his journey as a campaigner for mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and his work to fundamentally change how we approach mental health, especially in schools.
Ben released his first book entitled 'This Book Could Save Your Life – Breaking the Silence Around the Mental Health Emergency' in 2022, in which he shares his experiences to date, offering everything he’s discovered along the way, from dealing with grief, to how you can support those in your life experiencing poor mental health.
Supporting the mental health of young people with Cynthia Germanotta, Dr Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes and Professor Mina Fazel
In the seventh episode of the series, Professor Lennox is joined by Cynthia Germanotta and Dr Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes from Born This Way Foundation, and Professor Mina Fazel from Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry, to examine how to best help support the mental health of young people.
Cynthia Germanotta is President and Co-Founder of Born This Way Foundation and Global Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health at the World Health Organization. Cynthia co-founded Born This Way Foundation with her daughter, Lady Gaga, in 2012. Since then, the Foundation has connected with tens of thousands of young people across the world, launched innovative youth-focused programming, and conducted cutting edge research.
Dr. Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes is Born This Way Foundation’s Director of Research and Evaluation. Dr. Fernandes spearheads the Foundation’s research strategy, providing scientific expertise in the design and implementation of youth-led initiatives and impactful programming. Dr. Fernandes also holds a faculty appointment as an assistant clinical professor of the Child Study Center and in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science at the Yale School of Medicine.
Mina Fazel is Professor of Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. Her journey into the field of child and adolescent psychiatry was driven by her interest in understanding the impact of environmental factors on mental health. Since 2019, her team has been running the OxWell Student Survey, with over 40,000 children taking part in the 2023 version of the survey, it provides invaluable information for tailoring mental health provision to meet individual needs.
In this episode, they discuss some of Born This Way Foundation’s activities, including the Be There Certificate and #BeKind365, how school-based interventions can help improve the mental health of young people, and the importance of kindness.
Protecting mental health in crisis contexts with Benjamin Perks and Sabine Rakotomalala
In Episode 6 of the series, Professor Belinda Lennox is joined by Benjamin Perks, from UNICEF, Sabine Rakotomalala, from the World Health Organization, and Dr Jamie Lachman, Dr Isang Awah and Stephanie Eagling-Peche from Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention.
Here, they discuss the impact of trauma on mental health, how to protect children during a crisis and the resources developed collaboratively between Oxford, the WHO and UNICEF for the Parenting for Lifelong Health programme.
Benjamin Perks is Head of Campaigns and Advocacy at UNICEF. Benjamin is a diplomat specialising in human rights in low- and middle- income countries, and has been advocating for, and advising governments on, access and quality of education, child protection, health and justice sector reform.
Sabine Rakotomalala is Technical Officer in the World Health Organization’s Violence Prevention Unit, part of the WHO’s Department for the Social Determinants of Health. Sabine has a master’s degree in Child Psychology and has held various roles within the WHO, Terre des hommes and UNICEF aimed at brining awareness to and preventing violence against children.
Please be aware that this episode refers to topics such as child abuse and mistreatment.
Workplace wellbeing with Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
In Episode 5 of the series Professor Lennox sits down with Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre, Fellow at Harris Manchester College and Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the Saïd Business School.
During their conversation they look at recent research findings from the Wellbeing Research Centre that examine the role of the workplace in overall life satisfaction.
Here, they also discuss the surprising findings on how social elements, office architecture and even weather patterns contribute to our wellbeing at work, and the evidence linking happiness and productivity.
Building resilient mental health in the workplace with Sir John Kirwan
In Episode 4 of the series Professor Lennox is joined by Sir John Kirwan (known to most as JK), a former New Zealand rugby player and co-founder of workplace wellbeing technology platform Groov.
They discuss how JK’s own experiences with depression informed his extensive mental health advocacy work and led to the founding of Groov, with a mission to impact mental wellbeing globally by helping businesses to improve employee wellbeing and performance.
Here, they also look at ways people can build resilient mental health, and the role of business leaders in helping individuals manage their own wellbeing.
Please be aware that this episode refers to depression, suicide and suicidal thoughts.