Welcome to a School of Medicine Faculty Research Theme (FReT)

Mental Health and Wellbeing

We aim to improve care for people with mental health problems by generating new insights and new evidence-based treatments. Our research covers a broad range of topics spanning common mental health problems (anxiety and depression) to severe mental illness across UK and global healthcare contexts.

Below you will find details about our team members, research studies, and networks.

Follow the mental health team on Twitter or Facebook

We are proud to be a part of the Institute for Global Health at Keele University.

BASIL (Behavioural Activation in Social IsoLation)

This programme of work was adapted at the start of the covid-19 pandemic building on an NIHR-funded programme MODS Managing multiple health conditions in Older aDultS.

The Chief Investigator is Professor Simon Gilbody, University of York, and Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham leads the qualitative work within BASIL and MODS as well as being part of the training team for the Support Workers in BASIL and MODS.

Find out more about BASIL

CHOOSE study (Children and young people psychiatric diagnoses before and during the Covid-19 pandemic)

Funded by SPCR

Led by Dr Pearl Mok, Greater Manchester Safety Centre, University of Manchester

This research aims to:

  1. Look at how many children and young people in the UK have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or have self-harm recorded in their GP records, comparing the periods before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically we will look at diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. We will also look at prescriptions offered in GP practices for medications used to treat mental health conditions, and how many children and young people have been referred to mental health services by their GPs.
  2. Work with children and young people, parents and other key partners to develop recommendations for GPs, other healthcare services, social services, schools and colleges, on how to help children and young people with their mental health difficulties.

We are working closely with the McPin Foundation, mental health charity, who are supporting the PPIE in this study.

We are working with:

  • Young people who have had experience of mental health problems.
  • Parents/family carers who have had experience of supporting a young person with mental health problems.
  • Healthcare and educational professionals, including GPs, working with children and young people.
CLARENCE (CuLturally Adapting pRimary care mENtal health for the UK Central and eastern European community)

CLARENCE is a Wellcome Trust funded PhD research project led by Dr Aaron Poppleton, a General Practitioner and Clinical Academic in School of Medicine and the Institute for Global Health.

CASPER PLUS (Collaborative Care in Screen-Positive Elders)

CASPER PLUS was a study of a primary care-based psychological treatment, called 'collaborative care' for older people with depression. The study sought to establish clinical and cost effectiveness. Read our NIHR report. Article about CASPER PLUS.

Diabetes and Depression Study

This Diabetes and depression study focussed on the illness perceptions and explanatory models in patients with type 2 diabetes and co-morbid depression. The findings of this study will contribute to the development of patient-centred interventions using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) principles.

Fireside study

The FIRESIDE study seeks to understand whether it is acceptable to utilise Fire and Rescue Service “Safe & Well” visits to support the detection of, and sign-posting for, mental health problems (anxiety and depression) among older adults.

Junior doctors and distress

An exploratory mixed method study to identify working conditions and work cultures associated with psychological distress and suicidality among junior doctors working in the NHS.

Research-informed film on junior doctors: @WellbeingNhs

MIR Study (Mirtazapine added to SSSRIs for treatment resistant depression in primary care)

This is a randomised controlled trial which aims to test whether the addition of the antidepressant 'Mirtazapine' is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression compared with a placebo in patients who have been treated with Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) or Serotonin Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) for at least six weeks. >>link to MIR

NOTEPAD Study (NOn-Traditional providers to support the management of Elderly People with Anxiety and Depression)

This NOTEPAD study was a collaboration with Age UK North Staffs, and tested the feasibility of training third sector workers to deliver and intervention to older people with anxiety and depression. Read our NIHR report. See other study outputs including published papers and training materials.

Stress and burnout in General Practitioners

Stress and burnout in General Practitioners is a study which explores the barriers and facilitators for General Practitioners to access support when they are experiencing stress/burnout and/or reduced emotional or mental well-being. This study is funded by SPCR.

SYMPHONI (SYstems approach to Mental and Physical Health in people with lONg-term conditions)
  • Funded by CRN Impact and Innovation call​ for implementation (12-month project) hosted at MPFT
  • This project aims to explore the barriers and enablers of engaging with healthcare reviews for people with multimorbidity to address mood and lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking and low physical activity.
  • We are using individual patient interviews and focus groups with professional stakeholders, informed by Community of Practice approaches.
RIDDLE Study (Realist review of Interventions for Depression Delivered by ‘non-traditional’ providers to oLder pEople)

This study aims to solve the riddle of how, when and where interventions to detect mental health problems in older people, delivered by "non-traditional" providers (e.g. fire and rescue service, police, library services), work.

CHEMIST (Community pHarmaciEs Mood Intervention STudy)

The study aims to find out whether brief psychological support provided via community pharmacies may help people living with long-term health problems to maintain a healthy mood. The study is being undertaken at various community pharmacies within the North-East of England.

Distress and cancer

This ENHANCE study examines the feasibility and acceptability of a new integrated care approach. The intervention focuses on the under-diagnosis and management of osteoarthritis related pain and anxiety and/or depression in patients with LTCs (asthma / COPD / hypertension or ischemic heart disease / diabetes) in primary care.

INCLUDE (INtegrating and improving Care for patients with infLammatory rheUmatological DisordErs)

To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a nurse-led integrated care review (the INCLUDE review) for people with inflammatory rheumatological conditions in primary care.

MODS (Multimorbidity in OlDer adultS)

This study seeks to evaluate the use of behavioural activation to support mental health needs of older people with multiple long-term conditions.

WAVE (Work And Vocational advicE)

This study seeks to find out whether a brief vocational advice intervention for patients that receive a fit note for time off is effective (and cost-effective) in reducing the number of days lost from work.

IDEA Study (Indicators of DEmentiA outcomes)

IDEA is a qualitative study of patients with dementia, caregivers of those with dementia, and healthcare professionals on outcomes and markers of disease progression.

MEDDIP Study (MEasurement of Dementia Disease progression in Primary care)

MEDDIP is an epidemiological study seeks to identify markers of dementia progress using primary care data.

Mapping Grief

While grief is a universal human response to loss, understanding the psychological dynamics which might contribute to complex reactions and coping difficulties, fit within a wider frame of concern for mental health. The Range of Response to Loss Model (RRL) is a theory of grief which articulates these dynamics and the Adult Grief Scale (AAG) is an associated measure used to map/profile individual grief. It is used especially with people who seek help in bereavement and is a model and measure used across a wide range of health and social care settings. >>link to Mapping Grief

The Metaphors Study

This study explored whether Metaphors usefully represent the underlying cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles for medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), and how acceptable such generic and MUS specific Metaphors are to patients and practitioners.

Perinatal Anxiety (Study 1)

A qualitative study to explore perspectives of Health Care Professionals in primary and specialist care about perinatal anxiety.

Perinatal Anxiety (Study 2)

This study explores the perspectives of women with lived experience of perinatal anxiety.


A multi-centre randomised clinical trial which studies a group of psychological interventions for post-natal depression in British mothers of South Asian origin. >>link to ROSHNI-2..

C-MAP (Culturally adapted Manual Assisted Problem solving training)

This study conducted a multi-centre trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of C-MAP in patients with a history of self-harm in Pakistan.

Self-harm in older adults

As part of World Suicide Prevention Day, The Royal College of General Practitioners published a podcast that features mental health clinical champion, Dr Elizabeth England, and Chair of RCGP scientific foundation board, Carolyn Chew-Graham, discussing self-harm and suicide prevention.

Self-harm in younger people

The COPING study will work in partnership with young people aged 16-25 with lived experience of self-harm and GPs to develop a treatment guide (called COPING) for GPs to use with young people to reduce repeat self-harm.

SPIRIT study

Development and early testing of SPIRIT (Schizophrenia Prediction of Resistance to Treatment), a clinical tool to predict treatment resistance to anti-psychotics in First Episode Schizophrenia

SWITCH study

Qualitative study to explore views of healthcare professionals and people with schizophrenia on switching of anti-psychotic medication, barriers, facilitators and current practices.

Closing The Gap (CTG) network
  • Keele University is a member of the CTG network. The network seeks to understand why people with severe mental illness have some of the worst physical health issues of any section of the population. The network is led by colleagues at the University of York. >>link.
  • Physical health inequalities in imprisoned women with serious mental illness: Following the award of funding from the ‘Closing the Gap’ Network (CTG), this project aims to develop a new, multidisciplinary (and cross-institution) collaboration of clinicians, researchers, individuals with lived experience, charities to address the physical health inequalities of women in prison. Read more about this project in our blog.
Keele Mental Health Research Group

The School of Primary, Community and Social Care (then Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences) established a research partnership with Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in 2014. The group comprises clinicians, academics and other mental health professionals and aims to improve care for people with mental health problems in primary and specialist care.

CARE 75+ (The Community Ageing Research Study 75+)

We are working with West Midlands Clinical Research Network to recruit to the CARE 75+ study which aims to understand how to better identify and manage frailty within primary care.  This is done by collating an extensive range of health, social and economic outcome data from community dwelling people from the age of 75 and over.

Closing The Gap: Health and Wellbeing (CTG:HWB) cohort

The CTG:HWB Cohort is an important resource that underpins the Closing the Gap network and allows the team to approach people with severe mental ill health (SMI) to participate in the Closing the Gap network research programme. Keele University and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are supporting this cohort.

Closing The Gap Primary Care Special Interest Group

This group provides a forum to discuss current evidence and develop new research ideas to support CTG objectives within the context of primary care. The group is co-led by Carolyn Chew-Graham (Keele) and Caroline Mitchell (University of Sheffield)

FRRESH (Forum for Rural RESearch on Health and well-being)

The FRRESH initiative aims to address the current rural gap in research through community engagement to drive research development. The forum has been established to provide a fresh perspective on rural health and wellbeing and is funded by Keele Innovation Fund.

Meet the team

To find out more about membership/joining this FReT, please contact FReT co-leads, Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham and Professor Saeed Farooq

We also have a team of Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturers: