Dr Lina Gega

Reader in Mental Health
Department of Health Sciences and Hull York Medical School
University of York

Qualified both as a nurse and a psychological therapist, Lina’s expertise is in the clinical utility of digital media as means to specialist interventions for mental health. As a senior member of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group (MHARG), she leads research under the Digital Mental Health Theme. She has published widely on computerised therapies and virtual environments. Lina's work on technology-mediated interventions and training formed an impact case study was submitted to 2014 Research Excellence Framework as part of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

Lina’s current work focuses on interventions to improve health and quality of life for children and young people with mental health problems, as part of the Child Oriented Mental Health Intervention Centre (COMIC). Together with colleagues at DC Labs, she leads the development and evaluation of a digital game to treat phobias in children (DIG4IT). The project’s goal is to translate an evidence-based intervention - called graded exposure therapy - into gaming mechanics by bringing together the expertise of professionals from healthcare and education, the experience of children and adolescents, the support of parents and carers, and the skills of game designers and software engineers.

In collaboration with an Industry partner, Lina has led the development of an innovative virtual environments system that uses chroma-key video capture and digital films to assist psychological therapy for social anxiety and medical consultation skills training. Currently, the system is developed and evaluated to help children practise social and communication skills (I See Me Do) by seeing themselves interact with peers and adults within virtual environments that reflect day-to-day situations.

Working with a team of health economists and systematic reviewers, Lina leads an evidence synthesis funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on the costs and outcomes of digital mental health interventions (CODI). This evidence synthesis will lead to a taxonomy for categorising digital interventions across different conditions and an economic model for digital interventions applied to generalised anxiety, worry and stress. A series of knowledge transfer workshops will disseminate the outputs of the project to diverse audiences of service users, professionals, researchers and policy makers.

Together with Dr Sebastian Deterding, she co-leads the digital theme for the Closing the Gap (CTG) Network. The CTG Network is one of eight collaborative programmes in mental health funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Network’s digital theme explores how digital technologies and interactive media can be used to understand and meet the physical health needs of people with severe mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder), especially by reducing risk factors for preventable physical illness.