Coronavirus (COVID-19): Mental Health Research Advisory Group minutes - October 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 October 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Andrew Gumley (Chair) (AG)
  • Alastair Cook (AC), Scottish Government
  • Gordon Johnston (GJ), VoX
  • Rory O’Connor (ROC), University of Glasgow
  • Emma Hogg (EH), Public Health
  • Alan McNair (AMc)
  • Daniel Kopasker, (DK) University of Aberdeen
  • Lucy Mulvagh,(LM) Health and Social Care Alliance 
  • Neil Quinn, (NQ) University of Strathclyde
  • Lee Knifton, (LK) Mental Health Foundation
  • Stephen McLeod, (SM) Scottish Government 
  • Alix Rosenberg (AR) (minutes), Scottish Government


  • Apologies were received from:
  • Sarah Martin, Scottish Government
  • Sarah Mccutcheon, Scottish Government
  • Karen Martin, Carers Trust

Items and actions

Matters arising:

AG informed the group that Kathryn O’Hare has updated the Teams page with weekly information on mental health research published on the EPPI map and uploaded articles of interest. The group were encouraged to use this resource and to offer suggestions for improvement. 

Minutes from previous meeting 

The minutes from the September meeting were approved for publication.

Discussion item one: Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan (TRP)

Update: AC set the context for the TRP noting that it was a broad and ambitious plan covering the full scope of public mental health and services. The development of the TRP was a collaborative process that recognised the importance of the determinants of mental health as well as mental health services. AC noted that the TRP is a way point that sets the agenda for further work that is likely to lead up to a renewal of the Mental Health Strategy. AC highlighted areas for potential MHRAG contributions:

  • the renewal of services will require the development of standards and data for services and development of the evidence base. There is increasing awareness of data gaps
  • well-being services for children and young people: it will be important to understand what these services are doing and to think about monitoring and evaluation
  • developing areas of work on shielding and long-term conditions and older people underpinning issues of equalities
  • there will need to be monitoring of the delivery of the commitments in the TRP, likely to be done through a Programme Board. The Renewal plan is likely to be overseen by the Quality and Safety Board and there could be with some MHRAG input


The key points arising were:

  • there is a need to think about a broad and inclusive approach to MH research that has a cross disciplinary ethos, includes citizens and lived experience and recognises long standing inequalities
  • there is a clear recognition of the need to focus on outcomes measurement and to have high quality and meaningful data. A useful starting point could be a synthesis of evidence on the routine implementation of outcome measurements at scale, the barriers and example of good practice
  • the group could also benefit from a data science perspective and someone with strengths and leadership in that area 


  • LK to share links to research on how small countries had responded in terms of both health policy and services and to consider organising a small seminar to share findings
  • AR to circulate list of possible review topics identified by HSCA

Discussion item two: MHRAG priorities

Update: AG provided an overview of his QI connect presentation which summarised the emerging evidence on the mental health impacts of COVID and the approach taken in Scotland to date

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