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  1. Health Sciences
  2. Research
  3. Centre for Mental Health Research
About City

Centre for Mental Health Research

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

We conduct high quality research that aims to improve the delivery and experience of mental health care across a range of service settings.

About the centre

The Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) investigates how best to deliver and improve mental health care for people of all ages, across a range of contexts and settings. This research aims to improve the quality of mental health services, working closely with people with lived experience of using mental health services and staff that provide those services. Research findings are translated into educational interventions and inform healthcare staff training and practice, ultimately improving the quality of care.

Clinical Partnerships

The CMHR is at the heart of the Joint Institute of Mental Health Nursing established in 2009 in partnership with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), to advance knowledge transfer and research utilisation in local services and accelerate evidence-based practice.

Service User and Carer Partnerships

We have established an international reputation for the involvement of service users and carers in all aspects of the research process, particularly through our award-winning collaborative partnership with SUGAR: Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research

Our research

Mental Health Care, Service Delivery and Organisation

Our research investigates and evaluates different models or approaches to mental health service delivery and organisation and new, innovative ways of providing care. We employ a range of approaches and multiple research methods, often combining policy and literature reviews, large scale questionnaire surveys, fine-grained qualitative interviews, focus groups, documentary analysis and observation, and employ detailed case studies. We have experience in synthesising and triangulating data to provide illuminating insights into complex issues.

Our studies often emerge from topical challenges and issues facing service managers and clinicians or are identified by service users and carers. We frequently work in collaboration with service users as researchers alongside clinical staff in real world healthcare settings. Recently, this has included studies funded by the National Institute of Health Research into care planning and coordination in both community and inpatient mental health settings; investigations of new mental health nurse liaison roles in primary care; and the use of serious games to explore issues of risk in service users in forensic mental health settings.

DIALOG+ CPA Evaluation

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) has reviewed and revised the existing Care Programme Approach (CPA) process and policy jointly with its four Local Authority partners in East London and three Local Authorities in Luton and Bedfordshire and introduced a new process for planning, documenting and reviewing mental health care. This incorporates the DIALOG+ tool as a framework to underpin the architecture of the new eCPA form. DIALOG+ has been rigorously tested in ELFT and promotes a recovery-focused approach that was otherwise not integral to existing CPA processes. Key benefits in using DIALOG+ as a clinical outcomes tool is that it encourages discussions between the staff member and service user on self-management and crisis planning, explores options that are agreed between staff and service users and promotes a more empowering and therapeutic method for engagement.  The inclusion of ‘My Recovery Plan’ alongside ‘My Safety Plan’ have replaced ‘risk management’ concepts.

A team of researchers led by Professor Alan Simpson are working with clinicians, managers and service users in ELFT to evaluate the impact of the innovative care planning process on service users’ experiences of involvement in the care planning process, the quality of the therapeutic relationships with their care coordinators, the recovery-focus of the care planning process and on clinical outcomes.

Research methods include the use of officially collected data, questionnaire surveys of services users and interviews with service users, carers and clinicians and structured reviews of care plans. The process of implementation of the new CPA will be informed by i-PARIHS framework, which has been used for retrospective and prospective implementation evaluations. Results are expected in mid-2018.


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. Investing 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

  • Safewards
  • COCAPP: Recovery-focused care planning and coordination in England and Wales: a cross-national mixed methods comparative case study.
  • COCAPP-A: Cross-national mixed methods comparative case study of recovery-focused mental health care planning and coordination in acute inpatient mental health settings.