Mental Health Research

Centre for Mental Health Research

The Centre for Mental Health Research carries out collaborative research to improve the quality of mental health care.



  • Professor Rose McCabe, Professor of Clinical Communication (Centre Lead)
  • Lolita Alfred, Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing
  • Katie Anderson, Research Assistant Service User Research
  • Dr Sally Barlow, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Kirsten Barnicot, Lecturer in Mental Health Services Research
  • Dr Clara Bergen, Research Fellow
  • Professor Steve Gillard, Professor in Mental Health
  • Dr Lucy Goldsmith, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Dr Juanita Hoe, Reader
  • Jenna Hunter
  • Manuela Jarrett, Lecturer in Mental Health
  • Dr Mary Lavelle, Senior Research Fellow
  • Jo Lomani, Research Assistant Service User Research
  • Dr Grace Lucas, Lecturer
  • Kaidu Mustapha-Saliho, Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing
  • Madeline O'Caroll, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Sally O’Keeffe, Research Fellow (Programme Manager)
  • Dr Louise Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health
  • Eleni Profyri, Research Assistant
  • Professor Jacqueline Sin, Professor in Mental Health Nursing

  • Affiliated Members

  • Janet Anderson
  • Profesor Susan Ayers, Professor of Maternal and Child Health
  • Dr Martin Cartwright, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Rose Coates, Research Fellow
  • Michelle Ellis, Senior Lecturer
  • Professor Katerina Hilari,  Professor of Acquired Communication Disorders
  • Dr Sofia Llahana, Senior Lecturer
  • Sally McManus, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr China Mills, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Louise Williams, Research Fellow
  • Dr Kathleen Mulligan, Senior Research Fellow
  • Dr Justin Needle, Senior Lecturer
  • Octavia Wiseman, Research Assistant

  • PhD Students

  • Nafiso Ahmed
  • Amy Delicate
  • Tracy Dorey
  • Susannah Hermaszewska, NIHR Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow
  • Oliver Matias
  • Jenny McLeish
  • Cherie Morgan
  • Aaliyah Shaikh
  • Aneta Zarska
  • Our Research

    Coproduction project to improve access to primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers experiencing mental distress

    Funder: School of Health Sciences, Research Sustainability Fund & Higher Education Innovation Fund, £3,340

    Duration: December 2020 to June 2021

    City Lead: Susannah Hermaszewska

    Team members: Professor Jacqueline Sin, City, University of London; Dr. Angela Sweeney, King’s College London; Angelina Jalonen, Refugee Council

    Brief Project summary: All asylum seekers and refugees in the UK are entitled to free primary and secondary healthcare with the NHS. Whilst levels of mental and physical health needs in this population are high, utilisation of primary healthcare services remains low. Recent research has shown that refugees seeking help from primary healthcare services are hampered by discriminatory policies of these services, such as refusal to register patients without proof of legal status or address, but also their lack of knowledge about the UK healthcare system, language and cultural barriers, fear of disclosing sensitive information, and stigma associated with mental health. The aim of this coproduction project is to develop and disseminate informative resources to support help-seeking and aid communication about health needs between asylum seekers and refugees and primary healthcare practitioners. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Refugee Council, a nation-wide organisation, which provides therapeutic services, advocacy, and support to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. The resources will be coproduced with members of the refugee community, therapists at the Refugee Council and General Practitioners serving the refugee community.

    Co-designing culturally engaging alcohol intervention to reduce harm in Nepal

    Funder: City’s Global Challenges Research Fund, £15,473.81

    Duration: December 2020 to July 2021

    City Lead: Professor Jacqueline Sin, City, University of London

    Project Team members: Dr. Ranjita Dhital (co-lead), University of Reading; Nagendra Luitel, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) Nepal; Anup Adhikari, Programme For Improving Mental Health (PRIME) Nepal Collaborators: Professor Glenn Robert, King’s College London; Professor Edwin van Teijlingen, Bournemouth University Dr Adhijit Nadkarni, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

    Brief Project summary: Alcohol causes approximately 3.3 million deaths annually, representing 5.9% of all deaths worldwide. In low-income countries like Nepal, morbidity and mortality risks are greater per litre of pure alcohol consumed than in higher-income countries. This cross-disciplinary study will explore and expand on the multi-country Programme for Improving Mental Health Care conducted at one of the sites, Chitwan District, Nepal. This is an area with significant mental health and alcohol problems, where non-significant findings were reported when a psychological alcohol intervention was delivered in primary care settings by trained community-based counsellors. This study will be the first to use Experience-based Co-design (EBCD) and Photovoice to explore how community assets (including the arts, culture, heritage sites, green spaces, community associations and volunteer groups) can be best incorporated in co-designing an alcohol intervention for future evaluation in a low-resource country. The co-designed intervention will be developed to a stage ready for piloting and evaluation. We hope this will lead to the development of a culturally engaging alcohol intervention to provide sustainable and long-term health and social benefits.

    Meta-ethnography and migrant distress: where are transgender forced migrants in global mental health research?

    Funder: National Institute for Health Research, £69,641

    Duration: 30-03-2020 to 30-06-2021

    City Lead: Susannah Hermaszewska

    Team Members: Professor Jacqueline Sin, City; Dr. Angela Sweeney, King’s College London; Dr. B Camminga, Wits University, Johannesburg; Riley Botelle, King's College London.

    Brief Project summary: We are conducting a systematic review and meta-ethnography of inter-disciplinary literature on the lived experiences of transgender forced migrants. The aim of this review is to deepen the understanding of what factors impact the mental health of transgender forced migrants, and to understand the mental health and healthcare needs unique to their transgender identity, and their forced migrant status. This review aims to explore and outline the barriers and facilitators transgender individuals face accessing healthcare during migration and in their host countries. During this project, we are also looking closely at the ethical and methodological implications of using a meta-ethnographic approach to carry out research with exceptionally marginalised communities.

    ASsuRED: Improving outcomes in patients who self-harm – Adapting and evaluating a brief pSychological inteRvention in Emergency Departments

    NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research, £2.7 million

    Duration: May 2019 – April 2024

    City Lead: Professor Rose McCabe

    Project team members: Dr Sally O’Keeffe; Dr Jenna Hunter; Mimi Suzuki


    Dr Peter Aitken, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

    Professor Vera Araujo Soares, Newcastle University

    Professor Richard Byng, Plymouth University

    Professor Chris Dickens, University of Exeter

    Professor Sandra Eldridge, Queen Mary University of London

    Dr Domenico Giacco, University of Warwick

    Professor Navneet Kapur, University of Manchester

    Dr Will Lee, University of Exeter

    Professor Borislava Mihaylova, Queen Mary University of London

    Professor Stefan Priebe, Queen Mary University of London

    Dr Peter Riou, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Mary Ryan, PPI representative

    Professor Alan Simpson, Kings College London

    Dr Helen Smith, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

    Brief project summary: The study will investigate how to better support people who attend Emergency Departments (EDs) who have thoughts of taking their own lives or have harmed themselves. We know that the conversation between the individual and the mental health professional they see is critically important. Although there are many examples of good care, current practice across the NHS varies widely with no research evidence to support best practice. We will adapt and test a promising new approach used in other countries and evaluate its benefits in the UK context. This will involve therapeutic assessment, safety planning and rapid follow-up support after leaving the ED. This approach will be tested in a national randomised controlled trial.

    Learn more about the ASsuRED project

    Agency, Social Identity & Justice in Mental Health: A Collaboration with Young People, Clinicians & Academics across Philosophy, Ethics & Neuroscience

    Funder: MRC/ESRC/AHRC MR/T04618X/1; £94,267.71

    Duration: April 2020 – Mar 2021

    City Lead: Professor Rose McCabe

    Team: M Broome; M Larkin; L Bortolotti; R Temple

    Learn more about the Agency, Social Identity & Justice in Mental Health project

    PAAM Accessibility and acceptability of perinatal mental health services for women from Ethnic Minority groups

    Funder: NIHR HS&DR, £444,533.95

    Duration: May 2019 – June 2021

    City Lead: Professor Rose McCabe

    Team: S Priebe, Queen Mary University of London

    PACT-Dementia-Patient Aligned Care Team

    Funder: NIHR RP-PG-0217-20004; £2,477,93

    City Lead: Profesor Rose McCabe

    The role of language and communication in facilitating earlier referral to hospices

    Funder: Hospiscare, £47,940

    City Lead: Professor Rose McCabe

    The BOOST trial: Boosting Baby Behaviour and Bonding in Parents with Enduring Difficulties in Managing Emotions and Relationships

    Duration: 01-06-2017 to 31-01-2021

    Project lead at City: Dr Kirsten Barnicot (CI)

    Funder and award value: NIHR Research for Patient Benefit, £238,399.00

    Project team members:

    Professor Mike Crawford, Imperial College London (Co-I); Dr Jane Iles, University of Surrey (Co-I); Jennie Parker, Independent (Co-I); Professor Paul Ramchandani, University of Cambridge (Co-I); Ola Ajala, Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust (Collaborator); Dr Maddalena Miele, Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust (Collaborator); Dr Tara Lawn, East London NHS Foundation Trust (Collaborator); Dr Sushma Sundaresh, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust (Collaborator)

    · Brief project summary: The term "personality disorder " describes a set of experiences involving enduring difficulties in managing emotions and relationships with others. Research has shown that children whose parents experience these difficulties face an increased risk of developing their own socioemotional difficulties. Parent-infant interventions could be helpful by offering parents early support with the parent-infant relationship; however, the effectiveness of such interventions has never been evaluated in this group of parents. Research with other vulnerable families has shown a brief six-session video-feedback intervention - the video feedback intervention for positive parenting - can improve the parent-child interaction and reduce the risk of child socioemotional difficulties, by helping parents understand and respond sensitively to their child’s behaviour. The BOOST trial aims to establish whether parents with enduring difficulties in managing emotions and relationships, who have a child aged between 6 and 36 months, consent to and complete this video feedback intervention, how they think it could be improved, and whether it is feasible to test it in a larger trial in the future. We piloted the intervention in a small group of parents, used their feedback to modify the intervention, and then conducted a feasibility randomised controlled trial to compare the video feedback intervention to treatment-as-usual.

    Risk Assessment and Increasing Safety in Dementia (RAISe-Dementia) study

    Duration of project: February 2019 – January 2022

    Funder and award value: Dunhill Medical Trust - £242,282

    City Project Lead: Dr Juanita Hoe

    Project team members: Professor Gill Livingston (UCL); Professor Gianluca Baio (UCL); Dr Sergi Costafreda (UCL); Helen Souris (NHS England and NHS Improvement); Emily Van de Pol (Camden & Islington Mental Health NHS Trust); Frank Arroja (Alzheimer’s Society Research Network)

    Brief project summary: The RAISe-Dementia study aims to examine the risk assessment tool for people with dementia, which is currently being used in Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust by the Islington Dementia Navigator Risk. The Islington Dementia Navigator Risk Assessment Tool is used to generate a plan for people with dementia and stratifies the level of risk to inform frequency and method of follow-up. We intend to evaluate its validity, the feasibility of the risk management plans derived from it, their acceptability and outline costs. We will examine

    1. Validity - How well the tool identifies risks (compared to gold standard semi-structured clinical assessments)

    2. Feasibility - Whether the plan derived after using the tool is implemented over the subsequent 6 months.

    3. Acceptability - What people with dementia, family carers and workers think of the process and how it can be improved?

    We aim to provide a validated, valuable tool for use by professional and support staff working with people with dementia throughout the UK. If shown to be effective in practice, it would promote positive risk enablement, offering a tailored approach to the management of risk and support person-centred care in people with dementia living at home. This is consistent with best practice and is relatively inexpensive and translatable to wider clinical settings.

    NIDUS (New interventions for Independence in Dementia) study

    Project duration: March 2018 - February 2023

    Project lead at City: Dr Juanita Hoe

    Funder and award value: Alzheimer’s Society - £1,981,505

    Project team members: Professor Claudia Cooper (UCL); Professor Jill Manthorpe (KCL); Dr Kate Walters (UCL); Dr Iain Lang (University of Exeter); Dr Penny Rapaport (UCL); Dr Julie Barber (UCL); Professor Kenneth Rockwood (Dalhousie University, Canada); Professor Laurie Butler (Anglia Ruskin University); Dr Vasiliki Orgeta (UCL); Professor Robert Howard (UCL); Miss Rachael Hunter (UCL); Dr Anne Laybourne (UCL); Professor Murna Downs (University of Bradford); Dr Kathryn Lord (University of Bradford); Professor Gill Livingston (UCL)

    Brief project summary: This Alzheimer’s Society funded Centre of Excellence will develop and test evidence-based training and support programmes to help family (NIDUS-family) and paid home carers (NIDUS-professional) to provide high quality care to people living with dementia. These programmes have been co-developed with family carers, people living with dementia, home carers and health professionals to ensure the needs of people living with and affected by dementia are incorporated.

    Learn more about the NIDUS project

    Development of an Intervention to Support Mental and Physical Health Professionals to Manage Type II Diabetes Mellitus Care in People with Severe Mental Illness

    Project duration: October 2019 - October 2021

    Funder and award value: East London NHS Foundation Trust - £95,320

    The project aims is to develop a theoretically informed and evidence-based intervention to support mental and physical health professionals manage Type II diabetes mellitus in people with a severe mental illness. This is a mixed-methods study across three work packages (WP). WP1 informs selection of candidate intervention components. WP2 consists of three smaller projects (WP2.1a: Innovation Tournament, WP 2.1b: Challenge Committee, WP 2.2: e-Delphi) within which participants assess the candidate intervention components across a range of criteria and provide innovative ideas for delivery. The ideas are refined by the challenge committee and the resulting intervention package(s) are assessed for acceptability through an eDelphi consensus event. WP3 consists of semi-structured interviews whereby participants are asked to provide their experience and expertise to support development of a contextualised programme theory of how the intervention is expected to work, for whom and in what circumstances.

    Project Team

    Tracey Dorey (City Project Lead)

    Dr Mark Haddad

    Dr Kathleen Mulligan

    Dr Hayley McBain (external partner)

    Professor Alan Simpson (external partner)

    Recovery in Mind - Reaching Communities

    Funder and award: The Big Lottery Fund - £78,000.00

    Duration: April 2019 - September 2021

    Lead at City: Professor Jacqueline Sin

    Team: Angela Ryan, CEO of Recovery in Mind and the Recovery in Mind team

    Recovery in Mind Recovery College (RiM) was first established in June 2016, led by Angela Ryan, an experiential expert. RiM, like all recovery colleges, adopts an educational philosophy and offers a range of educational courses about mental health and recovery for the local residents, including individuals affected by mental health conditions, carers and health care professionals. The participants are regarded as “students” who play an active role to learn and take on self-management skills and move on with their life despite ongoing mental health challenges. All RiM courses are co-run by “Peer Workers”, i.e. experts through experience and mental health professionals. In 2019, RiM has obtained funding from a Big Lottery Reaching Communities Grant to extend and expand its capacity to deliver a range of courses to West Berkshire residents, across two years. Research study is run in parallel to provide a rigorous evaluation of such provision. Hence, this study aims to: 1. Evaluate the impact of the RiM courses in promoting students’ wellbeing and subjective perception of recovery; 2. To explore students’ lived experience of recovery journey through the RiM courses; 3. Evaluate and explore the health-related outcomes and lived experience of recovery in the Peer Workers

    The MAP Study: Music-assisted programmes - Developing communication in autism spectrum disorder through music making

    Funder and award: European Research Council Proof of Concept Grant, €150,000

    Duration: September 2019 – September 2021

    City Lead: Professor Jacqueline Sin

    Project team: Dr Fang Liu (Project Lead), Dr Tim Williams, Dr Tom Loucas - University of Reading

    The project aims to develop a set of music-assisted intervention programmes (MAP) to increase spoken language ability in 24-60-month old nonverbal or minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We compare the MAP with standard speech and language therapy in children aged three to five-year old through an online randomised controlled trial.

    Learn more about the MAP study.

    What difference does it make? An intersectional framework to measure mental health harms in women and men associated with different thresholds of violence and abuse: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Funder and award: The Violence Abuse & Mental health Network UK Research and Innovation, £25,000.00

    Duration: January 2020 – February 2021

    City Leads: Professors' Steve Gillard and Jacqueline Sin

    Project team: Dr Nadia Mantovani - Lead, Dr Sarah White (St George’s, University of London, Dr Angela Sweeney (King’s College London), Dr Lucy Allwright (AVA), Emma Brett

    This systematic review and meta-analysis will combine the results of quantitative studies to provide an analysis of measures of effect of the mental health harms associated with different kinds and thresholds of violence and abuse (VA), which will include types, frequency, severity and duration of VA. These associations will be further analysed between women and men to assess the gendered nature of violence, and in relation to other social inequalities analysis as specified above.

    Evaluating Mental Health Decision Units in acute care pathways (DECISION): A quasi-experimental and health economic evaluation

    Funder: National Institute for Health Research, Health Services & Deliver Research £418K

    Duration: March 2019 – February 2021

    City Lead: Professor Steve Gillard (Chief Investigator)

    Investigator team: Professor Sonia Johnson, University College London; Dr David McDaid, London School of Economics; Dr Jared Smith, St George’s, University of London, Kati Turner, St George’s, University of London; Professor Heather Jarman, St George’s Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Chloe Crowe, North East London Foundation NHS Trust; Dr Geraldine Clarke, The Health Foundation

    Other key team members: Dr Lucy Goldsmith, City, University of London; Jo Lomani, City, University of London; Dr Katie Anderson, City, University of London

    This project aims to establish the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of new mental health decision units (MHDU) – short stay units that aim to improve the experience of metal health crisis care, and to reduce mental health presentations at Emergency Departments and unhelpful psychiatric admissions – and to explore the optimal configuration of MHDU as part of the mental health crisis care pathway. An interrupted time series design in four mental health NHS Trusts, complemented with a synthetic control study using national data sets, will establish the effectiveness of MHDU while a cohort study will explore the impact of visiting a MHDU on individual crisis care pathways. In depth qualitative research, developed and undertaken by researchers with lived experience of mental distress and using mental health services, will explore people’s experiences of crisis, staying on a MHDU and the impact of visiting the unit on future support for crisis, as well as the expectations and experiences of staff working on MHDU and on the crisis referral pathway. Data from all studies will be used to inform the economic evaluation, modelling the cost benefits of different configurations of MHDU in the crisis pathway.

    Learn more about the project


    2019 - 2024 Professor Rose McCabe. ASsuRED: Improving outcomes in patients who self-hard - Adapting and evaluating a brief pSychological inteRvention in Emergency Departments. NIHR The Secretary of State for Health £2,662,192.00

    2019 Dr Mary Lavelle. Investigating the feasibility of using body worn cameras to identify effective de-escalation practice in mental health settings. City, Pump Priming Funding £9,851.00

    2019 Dr Mary Lavelle. Evaluation Support for General Practice Nursing Programme. Health Education England £5,000.00

    2018 - 2023 Professor Rose McCabe. Dementia - Person Aligned Care Team. NIHR The Secretary of State for Health £57,754.00

    2017 - 2022 Professor Rose McCabe. SCENE: Improving quality of life and health outcomes of patients with psychosis through a new structured intervention for expanding social networks. NIHR The Secretary of State for Health £39,212.00

    2018 - 2022 Professor Rose McCabe. TACKling chronic depression - adapting and testing a technology supported patient-centred and solution intervention (DIALOG+) for people with chronic depression. NIHR The Secretary of State for Health £29,833.00

    2019-2022 Dr Juanita Hoe. Risk assessment and increasing safety in dementia-RAISE dementia study. DMT The Dunhill Medical Trust £242,282.00

    2016-2021 Dr Juanita Hoe. Achieving quality and effectiveness in dementia using crisis team (AQUEDUCT). NIHR The Secretary of the State for Health £7,703.00

    2018-2020 Professor Alan Simpson. Development of a feasible, acceptable and evidence-based training package to reduce restrictive practices through enhancing the use and effectiveness of de-escalation techniques in adult acute and forensic mental health units. NIHR The Secretary of the State for Health £7252.00

    2016-2020 Professor Alan Simpson. Enhanced discharge from inpatient to community mental health care (ENRICH): a programme of applied research to develop, pilot and evaluate a peer support intervention to enhance discharge. NIHR The Secretary of the State for Health £195,389.00

    2013-2019 Dr Mark Haddad. ENGAGER 2: Developing and evaluating a collaborative care intervention for prisoners, with common mental health problems, near to and after release. NIHR The Secretary of the State for Health £14,250.00.

    Past Research