Development & Alumni Relations Office 

NEW MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT FUNDED THROUGH LEGACY, LAUNCHED ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY  Young woman sitting with back to wall and (inset) Menda Lambrinudi, her sister and mother

09 October 2020

Thanks to a legacy gift from University alumna Menda Lambrinudi from England, the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s has initiated a project to create an immersive space to research and treat mental health problems, which will benefit students and local communities alike.

Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK; levels of mental health illness among the population here are 20-25% higher on average, when compared to the rest of the UK.

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s, which was recognised with the award of a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in November 2019 for Shared Education, is committed to multidisciplinary work that addresses local and global challenges.

Much of the School's world-leading research has influenced policy and practice, both locally and globally, in many areas including mental health, education, criminal justice, the wellbeing of children and social cohesion.

The Queen’s Foundation, the charity through which all philanthropic gifts to the University are channelled, was delighted to receive over £230,000 from Ms Lambrinudi's estate. Menda (pictured inset above with her mother and older sister) completed a Certificate in Psychiatric Studies at Queen’s which enabled her to fulfil her ambition to be a social worker, counsellor and psychiatrist, before finding employment at St George’s Hospital and St Guy’s Hospital, London.

In her will, Menda supported 13 charities, including those educational institutions that had supported her career progression.

Her extraordinary gift has put into action plans for an immersive space to research and treat mental health problems for students, and local communities. Entitled ‘The Immersive Technologies and Digital Mental Health Network’, it will be a trans-disciplinary partnership of academics, service providers, practitioners and technology companies focusing on therapeutic and pedagogical advances in mental health and social care, using innovative digital technologies.

The funds will support PhD students and research equipment. The project is also strongly aligned to the innovation and digital pillar of the Belfast Region City Deal. Planning for this project will commence in autumn 2020.

Legacy Manager at Queen’s, Susan Wilson, said:

“Thanks to this amazing legacy gift from Menda, our researchers are able to create a dedicated space to research, understand, and treat the increasingly important area of mental health illness – an area which desperately needs our focus at this time.”

World Mental Health Day (10 October) is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. The annual awareness programme brings attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples' lives worldwide.

For further information on leaving a gift in your will to support the work of Queen's, contact Susan Wilson.

To submit graduate news items, or for general enquiries about this story, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast or telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

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