Newsletter 1 - Thank you cohort members





CoMorMent, EC and University of Oslo logo

Thank you

In this issue, we want to say Thank You to all our cohort members. Our research wouldn't be possible without you


What's in this newsletter? 
1) Hello from CoMorMent Co-ordinator 
2) Lay summaries of our research papers
3) [Article] Mental health pressures will linger long after lockdown  
4) Resources and ways to get involved
3) [Interview] Meet the Researcher - Prof Andrew McIntosh




 Photo of OleHello from Co-ordinator

Welcome to the first newsletter of the CoMorMent project!

CoMorMent is a new EU research study that aims to find out why mental illness (such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) is connected to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and what we can do to make things better. To do this we're using genetic and health data from over 1.8 million cohort participants.   

We are extremely grateful to everyone who takes part in our research.
In this first newsletter, I want to personally thank all the Cohort Members who contribute to this potentially life-changing research and let you know a bit more about how we are planning to translate our funding into better mental and physical health for everyone.

If you'd like to sign up to receive further newsletters, please click here.  

With best wishes from Ole Andreassen 



Lay summaries of our research papers

How does COVID-19 affect people who were living with mental illness, before the pandemic began? 

How important are parents in the development of child anxiety and depression? 



[Article] Mental health pressures will linger long after lockdown  

The number of people with mental illness was rising before the pandemic.
Easing restrictions is not enough to improve their lives.

Author: Dr Elizabeth Kirkham, University of Edinburgh

Women looking out a window

The UK’s lockdown is loosening. Millions of people have been vaccinated and spring is in the air.

Things are looking up; we can stop worrying about that so-called ‘mental health time bomb’ that the pandemic detonated and get back to how things were before. Back to a time when 25 per cent of 16- to 24-year-old women harmed themselves, one in four people experienced mental illness, and 74 per cent of people felt so stressed they had been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Suddenly ‘before’ doesn’t sound so rosy.

Given the way mental illness has been framed recently you’d be forgiven for thinking it began with the pandemic, or with lockdown. The data do suggest that, on average, people are feeling more anxious and depressed than they were before the pandemic began. But the headline figures obscure a deeper reality – there is a crisis of mental ill-health in the UK, but it was here long before the pandemic.

Read the rest of the article

Resources & Ways to get involved

Follow us on Social Media

Twitter logo  YouTube logo

Keep up-to-date with us on Twitter @CoMorMent
View short introductions to the CoMorMent project on our YouTube channel @CoMorMent

Read more about our project on our website:

Depression Detectives

Depression Detectives is a user-led citizen science project which brings together people with lived experience of depression and researchers who study it, as EQUAL partners. We want to make depression research better by listening to and working with non-scientists and putting lived experience at the heart of research. 
Our participants have been busy quizzing real live scientists (see write-ups on our blog) and will soon be designing their own research study and running it together with researchers.
Hopefully, they’ll also have some fun and meet some interesting people along the way! Each participant gives as much or as little time as suits them.
Read more on our blog or sign up to take part here.

outlines of faces looking out from a blue circle.


My depression, your depression - same name, different stories

This project explores depression from different angles through digital stories.
Each story is written narrated and edited by its author - in this case, adults with lived experience of depression and scientists who research this condition. Stories from parents and young people are coming soon. 

Watch the videos that have been created so far on the Patient Voices website or as a self-guided walking tour


Games & Activities

We have a variety of games and activities on our website: 


 Girl holds up paper chain people  

DNA & Medicines: a paper chain people activity exploring how DNA tests could be used to help doctors to decide which medicine to prescribe in the future (Stratified Medicine) 


Screenshot of Dr Data game

Dr Data: A card swiping computer game that puts you in charge of a Big Data project.
Can you keep Knowledge, Ethics, Money and People in balance? 


Screenshot from risk and resilience game

Risk and Resilience: a disc stacking game that explores risk and protective factors for depression. An online version of this is coming soon.  (Please email if you would like to be informed when it is ready)

We would love to hear what you think of these. Email your feedback and suggestions to  



   Photo of Andrew
Meet the Researcher - Professor Andrew McIntosh

The Magic of Cohorts [Excerpt from interview] 

Hello Andrew, could you tell us what your role is and what sorts of things you do?
I’m the work package lead for dissemination, communication, exploitation and public outreach on CoMorMent. I co-Chair the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium’s Major Depressive Disorder Working Group, and I am a principal or co-investigator on several cohort studies, including Generation Scotland.


What are cohorts and why are they important for research, especially CoMorMent research?

Cohorts are studies of specific groups of people assessed on two or more occasions over time. They might include genetic sample collections and repeated interviews or questionnaire assessments spaced out over many years. Others include biological measurements such as repeated brain scans or involve family members.

Cohorts are very valuable for research because they help us to understand what is going on across the lifespan, before and after the onset of illness, instead of simply taking a snapshot of people’s health at one point in time.

In CoMorMent, we are using cohorts to help us understand how important genetics and environmental risk factors really are in determining someone’s risk of mental disorder and one of its most severe complications – cardiovascular disease. Our aim is to develop an improved understanding so that in future we can reduce risk or more effectively treat people with mental disorder, especially those with or at risk of stroke and heart problems.


What sorts of “real world” benefits can cohort research provide for mental health?

Not everyone with mental illness benefits from medication, and often people go through a process of trial and error to find a medication that suits them. So far it has been difficult to predict the medication that people will respond to, but this is an area where CoMorMent can help.

CoMorMent brings together multiple large European studies and cohorts to produce a sample of 1.8 million people. This gives us the data, tools and expertise to start examining which medications work best for whom. It also enables us to better understand the risk factors and mechanisms of mental illness, and why people with mental illness develop cardiovascular disease more often than people who are unaffected. 

Do you have a message for anyone who wants to know more about CoMorMent? 
We will have lots of new findings to share over the next few years and you can be one of the first to hear about our discoveries. Sign up to receive future newsletters or follow us on Twitter @CoMorMent to stay up to date with this exciting project!  

Read the full interview on our website


That’s all for this edition. 

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For comms related questions, please email
For project related queries, please email 


Best wishes,

Iona Beange and Lizzy Kirkham

The CoMorMent Comms team

University of Edinburgh logo

Dr Iona Beange, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Officer, (

Dr Lizzy Kirkham, Postdoctoral Research Associate (

Prof Andrew McIntosh, WP6 Lead, Chair of Biological Psychiatry 

Prof Sue-Fletcher Watson, Professor of Developmental Psychology.

CoMorMent has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 847776.

The contents of this newsletter are the sole responsibility of the CoMorMent project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.


Published June 18, 2021 5:54 PM - Last modified June 18, 2021 6:20 PM