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Holly Bear

Dr Holly Bear is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Professor Alan Stein’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Team in the Department of Psychiatry. She completed her PhD in Evidence Based Child and Adolescent Mental Health at University College London in 2019 and holds an MSc in Health Psychology from King's College London. 

Tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to studying/working at the University of Oxford?  

During my doctoral research, I explored treatment outcomes for young people accessing child and adolescent mental health services. I was particularly interested in young people’s perspectives and experiences, and whether their treatment outcome expectations and illness belief models were aligned with the management of mental health problems in practice.

While conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of ‘treatment as usual’ for anxiety and depression in young people, it struck me that, despite an extensive body of literature supporting the efficacy of several evidence-based interventions, the outcomes achieved in trial conditions often failed to translate to routine practice. I also observed a paucity of ‘practice-based evidence’ and a lack of ‘youth voice’ in intervention research.

Since then, I became increasingly interested in exploring approaches to support the meaningful and sustained implementation of evidence-based practice. I was extremely excited to take up this postdoctoral position at the University of Oxford to explore some of these key implementation questions in more depth, whilst keeping young people’s perspectives at the centre of our work. 

What is your vision for the team/project/research you study/work with?

My current research focuses on how implementation science can be leveraged to enhance the adoption and sustainability of evidence-based digital interventions in child and adolescent mental health. I am hopeful and optimistic that this work will have a far-reaching impact by bridging the research-practice gap and optimising intervention benefits for young people. I very much look forward to disseminating the findings in due course. 

What is currently at the top of your To-Do List?

I am currently about to start recruiting participants for a qualitative study being conducted as part of the ECoWeB Project. We are interviewing young people, including those typically underserved in research, to better understand the challenges to adoption, usability, acceptability, and sustainability of an app-based self-help intervention. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I have always taken things one step at a time and made choices that make me happy. I thoroughly enjoyed the research aspects of my MSc at King’s College and learned a great deal from the academic mentorship I received from Professor Rona Moss-Morris and Dr Sam Norton. I had, and continue to have, truly wonderful mentorship from my PhD supervisor, Professor Miranda Wolpert, who solidified my decision to pursue a career in research. 

Who or what inspires you?

I am in awe of the extremely talented colleagues with whom I work, including Dr Mina Fazel and Dr Lara Ayala-Nunes. I have learned so much from my team over the past few months. 

If you were not in your study programme/job currently, what would you like to be doing?

I am very much looking forward to being reunited with my friends and family after lockdown ends and spending lots of time with them over the summer.