UCL Institute of Mental Health

Professor Helen Killaspy

Professor Helen Killaspy

Professor of Rehabilitation Psychiatry

Epidemiology & Applied Clinical Research

Division of Psychiatry

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2003

Research summary

Helen Killaspy is Professor and Honorary Consultant in Rehabilitation Psychiatry. Her research focuses on services and interventions for people with complex mental health problems.

She is Chief Investigator for a national programme of research funded for five years (2012-2017) through a National Institute of Health Research Programme Grant for Applied Research - the Quality and Effectiveness of Supported Tenancies (QuEST) project. The programme is investigating the quality and outcomes associated with specialist supported accommodation for people with mental health problems across England.  It complements her previous NIHR Programme Grant (2009-2015) that investigated quality and outcomes for users of inpatient mental health rehabilitation services, the Rehabilitation Effectiveness for Activities for Life (REAL) project.

Professor Killaspy was joint Chief Investigator (with Professor Mike Crawford, Imperial College and Professor Di Waller, Goldsmith's College) for the first RCT to investigate the efficacy of group art therapy for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (the MATISSE Study) which was funded by the DH Heath Technology Assessment.

From 2007 to 2010, she led a three year multicentre study funded by the European Commission (“DEMoBinc”) which successfully developed a toolkit to assess the quality of institutional care for people with longer term mental health problems in countries at different stages of deinstitutionalisation. A web based version of the toolkit (the Quality Indicator for Rehabilitative Care) was subsequently developed and is available in 10 languages at www.quirc.eu. This standardised quality assessment tool has been incorporated into the Royal College of Psychiatrists' AIMS-Rehab peer accreditation system for inpatient mental health rehabilitation units in the UK. This toolkit has been adapted for supported accommodation services (QuIRC-SA) as part of the QuEST project.

In 2007 she co-founded the North London Service User Research Forum with Scott Stevens and Professor Michael King. The forum provides informed service user consultation for researchers and educates service users about all aspects of research.

From 1999 to 2004 she co-ordinated the REACT study, the first RCT in the UK to investigate clinical and cost-effectiveness of assertive community treatment for people with serious mental illnesses. The results were published in the BMJ in 2006 and in 2007 she was awarded the Association of European Psychiatrists’ research prize for this paper.

Teaching summary

Professor Killaspy is an active teacher involved in supporting the education of students and  and mental health professionals at all levels of training and Continuing Professional Development 

She teaches undergraduate medical students through formal lectures and clinical attachments. She is co-lead for the 'Mental Health Care; Evaluation and Policy' module of the Division of Psychiatry's MSc courses in Mental Health Sciences Research and Clinical Mental Health Sciences. She supervise PhD students within the Division of Psychiatry and has examined PhD students at Universities across London, the UK and abroad. 

She co-founded and co-Chairs the North London Service User Research Forum which, since 2007, has facilitated  meaningful service user involvement and consultation in mental health research at UCL.

She is frequently invited to give lectures at local, national and international conferences on the evidence for specialist services for people with complex mental health needs.


Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2001
University of London
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery | 1991


Professor Killaspy is a clinical academic working in the field of rehabilitation psychiatry. Her research has provided much needed evidence for the effectiveness of specialist services for people with complex mental health needs.  She has played a key role in ensuring this evidence is included in national policy to support ongoing investment in longer term mental health rehabilitation services in the UK and abroad. She chairs the multidisciplinary Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health Advisory Group that produced the guidance for NHS commissioners of mental health rehabilitation services. There is now growing awareness and political support for the need for local investment in appropriate specialist services and care pathways for people with longer term and complex mental health needs to minimise the use of expensive and socially dislocating ‘out of area placements.’ She developed the first international quality benchmark tool for mental health rehabilitation services which has been incorporated into the Royal College of Psychiatrists' peer accreditation programme (AIMS Rehab). She Chairs the AIMS Rehab Advisory Group and is the National Professional Adviser to the Care Quality Commission for mental health rehabilitation services.