Research

My research is influenced by my multidisciplinary background, drawing on anthropology, psychology and social work. My primary research interests lie in three main areas:

  • global mental health: Global Mental Health has emerged as an interdisciplinary field aiming to improve care, support and treatments for people with mental health difficulties worldwide, with a particular focus on Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). In a context of limited resources and a growing but still small evidence-base on service provision in many LMIC settings, there is debate about how best to achieve these goals and a pressing need for both applied and critical research. I am particularly interested in how people with mental health problems, and those around them, find ways of making sense of their experiences, and have found ethnography to make an important contribution in exploring this. 
  • self-neglect and adult safeguarding: Together with Professors Suzy Braye and Michael Preston-Shoot, I have carried out research into safeguarding governance. We have developed a particular interest in the ethical, policy and practice dilemmas posed by self-neglect. Professionals have to negotiate competing imperatives of autonomy and care in this complex and diverse field. Our work in this area has explored the perspectives of service users, social workers and service managers in trying to chart how self-neglect arises and how societal and professional responses unfold. It is a topic which holds rich insights into responsibilisation, risk and self-care.
  • professional education: My research interests and professional role as a social work educator came together in work I have done on teaching, learning and assessment of such topics as partnership working, communication with children and young people, and interprofessional working in qualifying social work education. More recently I broadened the scope of my work when I applied the experience gained on these projects to a systematic review of strategies to improve the performance of untrained, undertrained and unqualified schoolteachers in low and middle-income countries.