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Helena Tuomainen

Job Title
Assistant Professor
WMS - Health Sciences
02476 5 28205
Research Interests

I am interested in young people and their mental wellbeing in high and low/middle income countries, and coproduced research. I have an interest in schools as settings for promoting mental wellbeing, identifying problems and supporting young people. I am also interested in the role of parents and primary care in caring for young people with mental health problems and supporting them access care, especially during late adolescence/early adulthood. Due to my multidisciplinary background, I am also interested in the links between food/eating and mental health and wellbeing, and young person and family experiences accessing and receiving treatment for eating disorders.


I am involved in school-based mental health research and the development of an assessment platform, currently enabling schools to undertake yearly wellbeing measurements, but with scope for broader research use. I am developing research proposals linked to autism, and eating disorders, and an intervention associated with commensality (eating together) to support student mental wellbeing. I co-lead the Public Mental Health course at Warwick Medical School. Previously, I was the scientific research manager on the EU-funded MILESTONE project (2014 to 2019), with nine interlinked work packages focusing on the transition of young people from child to adult mental health services. I coordinated the MILESTONE study, an 8-country cohort study with a nested cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of 'managed transition'. Under my leadership, the MILESTONE team was highly commended for Public Engagement activities (University of Warwick awards, 2018) and won the MQ/NIHR award for Service User involvement in research. I am keen to take this research forward, with a focus on supporting young people access care after being discharged from specialist mental health services. My background is in food/nutrition and sociology, and I am an expert by experience (parent) regarding eating disorders. As former school governor and chair of governors, I have gained significant experience regarding schools. I have held research posts at a number of internationally renowned research institutions in the UK and abroad. In 2019, I was nominated for Individual University of Warwick Award for Inspirational Leadership. I enjoy PhD supervision and am currently supervising three projects: Mental health literacy of Sikhs in England (Ariana Kular, ending 2022); The acceptability of mental wellbeing and mental health screening in schools (Colin Palmer); Development and Pilot-testing of an intervention to improve the quality of life in children of parents with serious mental illness (Adeola Afolayan)

Title Funder Award start Award end
MRC GACD: ISOBAR: Implementing Early Mental & Physical Health Detection & Support: Promoting a Whole-School Approach to Health & Well-being MRC 02 Oct 2023 01 Oct 2027
Studentship Agreement - Student to be appointed and project confirmed. Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust 01 Jan 2023 31 Dec 2025
Zines, emotional literacy and wellbeing in primary schools National Institute for Health Research (NIHR DoH) 01 Apr 2022 31 Mar 2023