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How our academics are shining a light on the devastating psychological impact of war

In recent times, the world has felt overwhelming and often we can feel helpless to it. At Middlesex, our research community aims to make a positive difference on a global scale.

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Read the two examples of how our academics are leading the way in global research, exploring the devastating, collective psychological impact caused by war. Our academics put their knowledge into action and apply their work in ways that make an impact on issues faced by everyone in our society.

Well-being and war in Ukraine

Professor Antonia Bifulco, Director of the MDX Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS), recently spoke at a virtual conference she organised with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre in partnership with the respective ambassadors of Ukraine, Poland and Israel in South Africa.

During the conference, psychologists and policy experts from Ukraine, Poland, Israel and the UK discussed the psychological impact of the conflict which began when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“Psychologists and others are needed to help traumatised Ukrainians on a large scale and to build community resilience for a better future.”
Prof Antonia Bifulco, Professor of Psychology

Jeffrey DeMarco, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at MDX, spoke about his role as an Associate Director of Knowledge and Insight for Victim Support, a large independent national charity in England and Wales which has been supporting Ukrainians and their host families.

He referred to traumas affecting the Ukrainian people that are often overlooked. These have included organised criminality such as trafficking, bogus schemes impacting UK families trying to host Ukrainians and hate crimes directed at Ukrainians in Britain including abuse on social media.

MDX academic leads major suicide prevention project in Syria

Looking at the longer-term effects of war, Associate Professor, Dr Erminia Colucci has been training humanitarian workers in Syria to identify and help people at risk of suicide in the war-torn country.

The World Health Organisation said there are still only four psychiatrists in Syria serving a population of four million people, which leaves 75% of Syrians with mental health conditions with no access to treatment.

“Many refugees or those seeking asylum fear the consequences of revealing they are mentally unwell and the implications for their application process. Gatekeepers, such as humanitarian workers, are so important in acting as the first point of call for these people because of a lack of resources or distrust towards professionals.”
Dr Erminia Colucci, Associate Professor in Visual and Cultural Psychology

Dr Erminia Colucci has previously developed pioneering Suicide First Aid Guidelines which empowered communities in Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to spot warnings signs of suicide and provide immediate assistance.

Studying Psychology at Middlesex will allow you to see how you can apply research to a real-life setting, making incredible changes to society under the guidance and support of our experienced academics who are active in their field.

Got questions about our research or want to learn more about what it’s like to study at Middlesex? Head to Unibuddy where you can chat to current students and academic staff.

Adapting mental health support for diverse cultures

As a global community, we always look for ways to expand our knowledge and application outside of the UK, which is exactly what academic Dr Erminia Colucci did when she took on the battle of mental health in Indonesia and Ghana.

Dr Colucci directed and filmed two documentaries in the countries where the subject of mental-health illness remains a taboo, identifying areas where mental health professionals and healers in Indonesia and Ghana can work in harmony.

“We explored how mental health professionals who might not share the same views can collaborate effectively with healers and how these collaborations can open doors for discussions and reciprocal learning between healers and professionals.”
Dr Colucci, a Middlesex Associate Professor in Visual and Cultural Psychology

Studying Psychology at Middlesex will allow you to see how you can apply research to a real-life setting and a make incredible changes to society under the guidance and support of our experienced academics.

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