Mental health worker celebrates thesis publication

Roisin Vahey celebrates at graduation ceremony

A mental health support worker in Kent is celebrating after her thesis was published in The International Journal of Psychology and Physiological Therapy, a leading medical journal.

Roisin Vahey, a support worker from Zimbabwe, works for Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery reality, and is using her degree knowledge to help support people in the area living with mental health problems.

Her thesis, entitled Galvanic Skin Response in Mood Disorders: A Critical Review, explores the impact of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), a process that measures variations in the electrical characteristics of the skin, with specific reference to individuals with mood disorders such as depression.

Roisin hopes that her research will lead to development of GSR as an effective assessment tool of efficacy for different therapies and treatments for people living with mental health problems.

She said: “My research gives strong indications that GSR is a good measure emotional responses which may be adapted in the future as a measure of how effective treatment is for people with mood disorders which would make this method a useful tool in monitoring a person’s response to therapy, medication and lifestyle alterations on their mental well being.

“Whilst it is in no way conclusive, it sets the ground work for future researchers to move forward with this method and explore how GSR can help map a patient’s recovery journey and see the effect different treatment methods are having.”

It is hoped that the research will lead onto further developments in the field and help improve the ways in which a person’s response to treatment can be measured, providing evidence of whether a treatment is effective for an individual or not.

For now though, Roisin is continuing her work with Richmond Fellowship and supporting people accessing the charities growing services in Kent.

She added: “I’m very proud to have my research published in such a renowned journal. It was a long process to pull everything together, but it was a fascinating project and I hope that my research will go on to help develop mental health care for future generations.”

Theresa Breakspear, team leader for Richmond Fellowship in Kent, said: “We are so proud of Roisin; her knowledge in Psychology is incredibly valuable to Richmond Fellowship’s services in Kent. 

“Although more than half the team have degrees or higher, no-one has been published in a journal and Roisin is inspiring us all to reach higher and to help us make recovery reality for the people we provide support to.”

Find out more about the services Richmond Fellowship offer in Kent


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