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 the evaluation of services and interventions for people with particularly complex mental health problems, and the development of tools to assess the quality of mental health rehabilitationservices. These tools have been used to identify the aspects of care associated with better outcomes for this patient group. 

She has led a number of national and international programmes of research investigating the quality and effectiveness of services. These include two National Institute of Health Research funded Programme Grants for Applied Research - the Rehabilitation Effectiveness for Activities for Life (REAL) study (2009-2015), that focussed on inpatient mental health rehabilitation services, and the Quality and Effectiveness of Supported Tenancies (QuEST) study (2012-2017) that focussed on mental health supported accommodation services. From 2007 to 2010, she led the 'DEMoBinc' study, funded by the European Commission and involving ten European countries at different stages of deinstitutionalisation, that developed a standardised toolkit to assess the quality of facilities for people with longer term mental health problems. A web based version of the toolkit (the Quality Indicator for Rehabilitative Care) was subsequently developed and is now available in 10 European languages and Japanese (www.quirc.eu). The tool has been used by over 1000 services in 19 countries around the world. It is recommended by theRoyal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) as a routine audit tool forinpatient mental health rehabilitation and it has been incorporated into the RCPsych's UK wide quality improvement and peer accreditation system for these services. The toolkit was further adapted for mental health supported accommodation services (QuIRC-SA) as part of the QuEST project.

Professor Killaspy has led numerous trials of complex interventions for poeple with mental health problems, including 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 and the paper was awarded the Association of European Psychiatrists prize for the best research paper of 2007.

Professor Killaspy is co-founder and co-Chair of the North London Service User Research Forum that provides specialist service user consultation and PPI for researchers at any stage of their research, from development to dissemination.

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.