The research team

Led by Professor Sonia Johnson and Dr Bryn Lloyd-Evans at UCL, our research team are based across UCL and The McPin Foundation. We collaborate with staff from specialist secondary mental health services and experts by lived experience.

  • Bryn Lloyd Evans - Principal investigator, Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care, UCL
  • Sonia Johnson - Principal investigator, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry, UCL
  • Vanessa Pinfold - Research Director, The McPin Foundation
  • Jo Billings - Clinical Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Sciences (Clinical Psychologist), UCL
  • Glyn Lewis - Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, UCL
  • Dora Stefanidou - Research Assistant, UCL
  • Johanna Frerichs - Researcher, The McPin Foundation

UCL BEH McPin C&I logos - large


There are a number of innovative projects happening across the country which may help people develop more connections. We are really pleased to be able to draw on the existing expertise of staff at Wellbeing Enterprises (WE) for the current study. WE and others have demonstrated that social navigation approaches can be feasible and engaging in a mental health context, and have a range of developed programmes of support. The WE team have provided advice on developing the programme of navigation support for the study, and on training and supervising the navigators.


We have also sought advice from the Connecting People Study and Peter Bates who has developed a number of training resources for the National Development Team for Inclusion including The Inclusion Web.


Alongside people's individual sessions, we are including some group meetings. In the preliminary testing, we tried out an evidence-based programme, Groups 4 Health. The Community Navigators who facilitated these groups really enjoyed them and told us how interesting they were. Unfortunately not as many participants as we'd hoped made it to these group sessions. Using the Groups 4 Health team's input, we have now decided to run more casual meetings to introduce the Community Navigator programme and allow participants to share interests.