MSc Projects: Elizabeth Hernandez

Whilst studying for my MSc in Development and Psychopathology in 2015-2016, I conducted a research project under the supervision of Dr. Polly Waite and Dr. Brynjar Halldorsson investigating the cognitions and behaviour associated with social anxiety in a non-clinical sample of children aged 6-12 years. Aside from reviewing the literature and the statistical analysis, a major part of my project was participant recruitment. This involved liaising with primary schools and subsequently collecting questionnaire data in the school setting. I received ample support from my supervisors particularly with this part of my project, as I had never recruited participants in this age range and it was proving quite a challenge! They ensured I was equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully recruit a substantial sample and collect data effectively. On top of this, they were consistently available throughout every stage of my project for any queries or concerns I had and I feel I learnt so much as a result of this.

Both conducting my research project and undertaking a placement in the AnDY Clinic gave me a wealth of invaluable research and clinical skills necessary for my current role as a Research Assistant in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I work across two projects- a Randomised Control Trial examining the effectiveness of CBTp for young people having psychotic-like experiences, and a psycho-education programme for primary school children. My placement experience equipped me with the clinical skills needed to conduct assessments with young people in a clinical population, whilst my research project prepared me for collecting data in a primary school setting.

I would highly recommend the placement/research opportunities at the AnDY clinic to anyone with an interest in child and adolescent mental health research and to those wanting to strengthen their research and clinical skills beyond the academic components of their degree.