Mental health strategic focus area

We're interested in understanding and supporting mental health across the lifespan: from child development, youth mental health and parenting, through common and severe mental health problems and their precursors in adulthood (mood and anxiety, psychosis, voices, substance use) to old age and dementia.

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What is the mental health strategic focus area?

The mental health research strategic focus area is a cross-cutting research theme that incorporates both mental illness and treatment, and mental wellbeing and prevention across the lifespan. It's underpinned by a strong collaboration with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and our significant clinical psychology contribution through the mental health practice unit; and by cutting edge psychological research and statistical methods within the School, in dedicated labs and centres, and across research groups.

 

Our partnerships and public collaborations

Our mental health research incorporates wider partnerships with Brighton and Sussex Medical School, the Sackler Centre for Consciousness, and the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC), as well as regional and national collaborations with schools, NHS trusts, Educational, Health and Mental health policy-makers. Collaborations with academic institutions, industry, non-statutory public and patient involvement organisations, and international NGOs ensure that our research is cutting edge, global and world-leading. We also host a public-facing seminar series across a wide variety of topics.

 

What we do

Our purpose is to stimulate the production of high-quality research that has a positive impact on society. To that aim, we promote a rich, engaging, collaborative and public-facing research environment that supports research-led teaching and training.

A major focus is on:

  • the development and testing of innovative psychological interventions to treat mental ill-health in children, adolescents, working-age adults and older people, culminating in significant research funding, and definitive multi-site randomised trials. We have specific expertise in mood and anxiety, autism, psychosis, substance use, youth mental health and dementia.

Complementary and novel research themes include:

  • our mental wellbeing and prevention research which addresses, the interplay between family relationships, rearing practices, adversity and genetics, stigma and discrimination, public health, wellbeing, and parenting interventions on children's mental health, social and emotional function
  • a new global mental health programme that involves the development, adaptation, and delivery of culturally adapted interventions and therapy training programmes in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), in India and Malaysia
  • Our digital mental health research involves the development and delivery of blended and digitally supported interventions and approaches across mental ill-health, and wellbeing and prevention. The experimental use of digital platforms and VR approaches illuminates underpinning mechanisms for mental health, whilst the opportunity to use big data enables patient identification, as well as epidemiological, mechanistic, targeted mental health research, and NHS Mental Health Quality improvement.

We use robust social, developmental and cognitive theories, basic neuroscience, advanced research methods, and analytical techniques to underpin our research, which translates into enhanced mental health outcomes.

 

Our infrastructure support

Our research is supported by significant clinical-academic infrastructure from the NIHR funded Research Design Service-South East, the Joint Clinical Research Office, the Brighton and Sussex Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).

 

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