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Mental Health and Wellbeing

group_talking.jpgThe emphasis of our work is on intervening in health problems early and effectively by promoting mental health and wellbeing across clinical groups, the general population, and society as a whole.

Using our wide range of methodological and clinical expertise, we aim to develop strategies for preventing illness and promoting mental and physical wellbeing; understand the social context in which mental ill-health emerges; and develop, test and implement community-based models of care using rigorous methods of evaluation.

We work across the life span from infants to the elderly, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and high-risk groups such as babies, young people and ethnic minorities.

Our research has influenced health policies and strategies at national and international levels.


Our partnerships include:

  • Department of Health and Department of Education
  • West Midlands CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership Applied Health Research and Care) and AHSN (Academic Health Science Networks)
  • National Institute of Health Research, including:
    • NETSCC
    • CCF
    • PGfAR
    • PPH
    • PRP
  • National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), including membership of clinical guideline development groups
  • NIHR Clinical Research Networks, nationally and regionally
  • UK Health Forum
  • Local NHS Trusts, including
    • UHCW
    • BSMHFT
    • CWPT
  • National HEIs including:
    • University of Birmingham
    • University of Oxford
    • University of Cambridge
    • University of Manchester
    • Coventry University
    • University of Glasgow
    • King’s College London
    • University of East Anglia
    • University of Liverpool
    • University College London
    • Imperial College London
    • Queen Mary University
    • Newcastle University
    • University of Ulster
    • University of Portsmouth
  • International HEIs including Universities in:
    • Amsterdam
    • Maastricht
    • Melbourne
    • Sydney
    • Montreal
    • Ottawa
    • Calgary
    • Durham (Duke University)
    • Boston
    • Cambridge, MA (Harvard Medical School)
    • Chennai
    • Chandigarh
    • Lahore
    • Naples
    • Kumasi
    • Ulm
    • Montpellier
    • Split
    • Brescia
    • Milan
    • Leuven
  • Royal Colleges including Royal College of Psychiatrists; Paediatrics; Midwifery
  • Voluntary sector organisations including:
  • Youthspace
  • BIG Lottery
  • Other organisations including Institute of Health Visiting

Current research:

We are currently conducting research on a range of topics including:
  • Developing robust care pathways for young people with emerging mental disorders such as transitional care
  • Psychosocial interventions to improve functional outcomes such as return to education and training in young people suffering from early psychosis
  • The impact of early experiences (pregnancy, prematurity) on long term development, mental health and wellbeing
  • Early interventions during pregnancy and the first three years of life in disadvantaged populations
  • Improved working in child protection across health and children’s social care
  • Development of pre-birth care pathways
  • Innovative methods of supporting parents of babies with substance dependency
  • Early regulatory difficulties (crying, sleeping, feeding), parenting and long term impact on mental health and wellbeing
  • Sleep disturbance and its relationship to physical and mental wellbeing
  • Risk and resilience in children and young people
  • Nutrition, health and wellbeing, with emphasis on the effects of salt and potassium intake
  • The role of peers and siblings (e.g. bullying) on wellbeing and mental health across the lifespan
  • Understanding rising rates of compulsory mental health admission
  • Reducing harmful compliance with commanding hallucinations
  • Reducing substance misuse in mental health admission units
  • Public health interventions to reduce treatment delay in first episode psychosis
  • Developing the ‘next generation’ of Early Intervention in Psychosis teams
  • Understanding pathways to emotional dysregulation in psychosis
  • Identifying the ‘critical period’ for early treatment in first episode psychosis
  • Schools interventions to promote mental health literacy

Areas of priority focus:

Our research aims to extend the early intervention paradigm from treatment to prevention to resilience and deals with a range of health issues, which are strategic priorities for both NHS and wider society. These include:
  • Developing evidence-based methods of working during pregnancy and the first three years of life
  • Developing evidence-based models of care for children and young people to improve outcomes of those with mental disorders, prevent illness in those at high risk, and promote resilience in populations as whole
  • Child development and safety
  • Mental health and wellbeing of ethnic minority groups
  • Built environment and mental health
  • Sleep, Health and Society
  • Public Health and Policy implementations of salt reduction and iodisation programmes


We have received funding from the following sources:
  • NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) and Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)
  • Medical Research Council
  • Big Lottery Fund
  • EU
  • WHO
  • Department of Education
  • BUPA Foundation
  • British Council
  • ESRC
  • Nuffield Foundation
  • BMBF (Ministry of Education and Science, Germany)

Associated academic staff: