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Meet the Researcher

Meet the researcher: Dr Olga Eyre

17 March 2022
Text book and note book lay open on a desk

A Clinical Research Fellow has joined the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health.

Dr Olga Eyre is supporting the set-up of a trial of a psychological intervention for the prevention of adolescent depression and developing an online resource to help signpost young people to mental health resources that are relevant to them.

Dr Eyre joined the Wolfson Centre in 2021 having previously worked as a WCAT (Wales Clinical Academic Track) Fellow in the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University.

Olga said: “I have always been interested in mental health. During my medical training, I enjoyed psychiatry, and I opted to take a year out to complete an intercalated degree in psychology.

“A couple of years after graduating from medical school I had the chance to work as a research assistant on the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression (EPAD) study at Cardiff University. This helped me to gain experience in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, as well gain as an understanding of the process of research.”

Clinical practice and research

Following her work on the EPAD study, Dr Eyre went on to clinical psychiatry training and gained further interest in youth mental health, particularly related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.

Olga added: “Clinical work and research are inherently linked and they both inform each other. Clinical work helps to generate important and relevant research questions, and the findings from research help to guide clinical practice. I really wanted to be involved in both, and this has driven me towards a clinical academic career in child and adolescent psychiatry, which involves research into young people’s mental health. My clinical experience has certainly shaped my research interests, and my research experience has influenced my clinical practice.”

Work at the Wolfson Centre

Dr Eyre’s role at the Wolfson Centre is multi-faceted.

“There are two main aspects to my role at the Wolfson Centre. Firstly, I am contributing to setting up a trial of a psychological intervention for the prevention of depression in adolescents. Secondly, I am involved in developing an online resource for schools, to help young people access mental health resources that are relevant to them.”

Dr Eyre also contributes to other projects going on within the Centre and is involved with teaching and supervising students undertaking research in the field of young people’s mental health. She has recently contributed a review of the literature on adolescent depression, and on neurodevelopmental disorders and depression, topics that are of particular interest to her.

Challenges in youth mental health

A challenge across clinical practice is identifying young people with mental health problems and offering the appropriate support or treatment.

Olga said: “A significant proportion of children and young people experiencing mental health problems are not identified, and so don’t get the help they need. As mental health problems in childhood have an impact on longer-term outcomes, this has implications for individuals and society.

“Another key challenge is providing mental health services to those who need them. Although early intervention is effective in preventing later mental health difficulties, funding and resources are limited. This means that it is often young people with more urgent, severe difficulties who are prioritised by services, and an opportunity to intervene early and to prevent problems is missed.

Dr Olga Eyre concluded: “It’s an exciting time here at the Centre with our work is really beginning to get underway. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work closely with colleagues across the interdisciplinary centre and strengthening the links between clinical practice and research findings.”

Olga Eyre

Dr Olga Eyre - People - Cardiff University