Richard Jia presenting at the BSA Medical Sociology Conference as the youngest presenter ever

Richard Jia (Westlake Boys High School, New Zealand) is a student researcher in the 1-on-1 Research Mentorship programme, working in sociology under Dr Hande Guzel from the University of Cambridge. His paper "Redefining mental health: Marginalisation and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on understandings of mental disorders” has just been accepted for presentation at the annual BSA Medical Sociology Conference.

In his paper, Richard explores the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the (re)definition of mental health disorders in New Zealand and worldwide. As he points out, New Zealand presents a unique case with indigenous cultures’ emphasis on well-being, and the government’s increased attempts to raise mental health awareness. By analysing social media content, he shows that there has been a significant increase in the engagement with mental health related social media content during the pandemic, which has attended a marginalization of disorders that are regarded as less relevant to the pandemic, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

For his presentation, Richard will be standing among some of the leading researchers in medical sociology today—as by and far the youngest presenter at the conference. The British Sociological Associations' annual medical sociology conference is one of the most prestigious sociology conferences in Europe, as it brings together leading and emerging sociologists who work in the area to further stimulate and catalyze sociological research.

So congratulations to Richard again, for this tremendous achievement!