Mental Health Policy Research Unit

Welcome to the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit’s (MHPRU’s) newsletter, bringing you an update on recent and current projects and reports. The PRU conducts rapid research to inform policy at DHSC, NHS England, OHID and other government and arms-length bodies, delivering a programme agreed with policy makers including analytical colleagues. Researchers are mainly based at UCL and Kings College London, and we work with a national network of experts and a very active Lived Experience Working Group of service users and carers who are involved in our research.

Since 2017 we have delivered research on a wide range of topics with a wide range of methods. Topics for major programmes have included the Mental Health Act, Complex Emotional Needs, COVID-19 and telemental health, peer support, the mental health needs of autistic people, and evaluation of the national Every Mind Matters campaign. We are delighted to have secured additional funding to continue the work of the NIHR Policy Unit on Mental Health until the end of 2028. Projects in development for the new round of funding include:

  • Evaluation of Early Support Hubs for children and young people
  • An investigation of mental health crisis care systems
  • Risk factors for severe mental health outcomes among young people

The Unit is led by Prof Sonia Johnson (UCL), with co-Director Prof Alan Simpson (Kings) and Prof Bryn Lloyd-Evans (UCL). Deputy Directors include and Dr Kylee Trevillion and Dr Andrew Grundy. You can find out more about our existing work on the Project pages or in our recent newsletters. To find out more about the work we will be doing with our new funding, click here.

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The NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit (MHPRU) is part of the NIHR and hosted by UCL/KCL. NIHR PRUs are composed of experts and researchers who undertake policy research providing evidence to support national policy making in England through the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and its Arm’s Length Bodies (ALB). The NIHR has recently awarded further funding to 20 PRUs across England, covering a range of healthcare specialties. These Units will run from 2024-2028 and will provide evidence to respond to new and emerging policy needs.

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