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Institute of Population Health Sciences (IPHS)

Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry

The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, located in the London Borough of Newham, is supported by East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry conducts research on how social interactions can reduce and overcome mental distress. Social interactions are understood as everything that ‘happens between people' which includes interactions in societies, communities, groups, families and health care settings. The research is multi-disciplinary, aims to innovate and involves the development and testing of novel interventions in mental health care. The Unit plays a leading role in various national and international collaborations.

The Unit is also involved in teaching (mainly postgraduate), and in the planning, evaluation and improvement of mental health services. The development of services is linked to its role as a WHO Collaborating Centre and a NIHR Global Health Research.

Since 2012, the Unit is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (the only one specifically for Mental Health Service Development worldwide), and since 2017 it hosts an NIHR Global Health Research Group for Developing Psycho-Social Interventions.

Since 2013, the Unit has generated more than £25m competitive research, mostly from the National Institute for Health Research, the European Commission and the Medical Research Council. Currently, the Unit consists of around 30 full-time researchers, PhD students and managerial/administrative staff.Centre for Primary Care and Mental Health group photo



The research projects led by members of the Unit can be grouped into four overlapping areas:


Global Mental Health

The NIHR Global Health Research Group for Developing Psycho-Social Interventions (GLOBE) works with partners in six countries (Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Pakistan, Peru and Uganda) to test resource-oriented interventions (befriending through volunteers, multi-family groups, DIALOG+).

An EC-funded project (IMPULSE) implements and evaluates DIALOG+ (in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North-Macedonia and Serbia) and an MRC-funded project (BRICs) tests DIALOG+ in adolescents in Colombia.

A MRC programme (OLA) explores the resilience of young people to overcome episodes of anxiety and depression in Latin-American cities (Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima).

PhD students assess the potentials of global mental health research projects and explore the morale of physicians and dentists in Kazakhstan.


DIALOG+ in the UK

In the UK, an NIHR programme for applied research (TACK) adjusts and tests DIALOG+ for patients with chronic depression. A PhD project explores options for using DIALOG+ in primary care. 


Arts therapies

An HTA-funded trial (ERA) compares the cost-effectiveness of group-based arts therapies (art therapy, dance-movement therapy and music therapy) with supportive counselling. PhD projects investigate the role of patient preferences in arts therapies and develop art therapy for people with learning difficulties.


Developing and evaluating novel interventions

An NIHR programme for applied research (SCENE) develops and tests an intervention to widen the social networks of patients with psychosis (using a ‘social contact coach’). PhD projects explore options for virtual group therapies and test the potential for volunteer-patient relationships via remote technology. An HR&SD-funded project explores how women from ethnic minorities experience perinatal psychiatric care.


Further PhD projects address concepts with a potential for future interventions. They study the experienced social identity of people with psychosis and the role of social capital among homeless people with mental disorders.



Additionally, the Unit collaborates on various studies led by researchers from other groups at Queen Mary and other institutions.

Albani, Karin- Research Manager

Ayed, Nadia- PhD Student

Bird, Victoria- Senior Lecturer

Brown, Candice- Research Assistant, SCENE

Burn, Erin- Research Assistant, Global Health

Carr, Catherine- Senior Lecturer

Chevalier, Agnes- Trial Manager, SCENE

Conneely, Mebh- PhD Student

Cooper, Ruth- Senior Researcher, RADAR

Dilgul, Merve- PhD Student

Ellis-Brewer, Carolanne- Manager, USCP

Fung, Catherine- Trial Manager, Global Health

Hickling, Lauren- Research Assistant/CSO

Hounsell, Lauren- Research Assistant, ERA

Jakaite, Zivile- Research Assistant/CSO

Jovanovic, Nikolina- Clinical Lecturer

Koutsou, Maria Leoni- Trial Manager, ERA

Laxhman, Neelam- Research Assistant/CSO

Matanov, Aleksandra- Research Assistant, TACK

McNamee, Philip- Trial Manager, TACK

Medlicott, Emma- Research Assistant, ERA

Mosler, Franziska- PhD Student

Patterson, Megan- Research Assistant, SCENE

Pemovska, Tamara- Research Assistant, IMPULSE

Pinto da Costa, Mariana- PhD Student

Priebe, Stefan- Professor

Rajabzadeh, Vian- PhD Student, GHR

Ramjaun, Gonca- Research Assistant/CSO

Russo, Manuela - Trial Manager, IMPULSE

Sabitova, Alina - PhD Student

Sajun, Sana- Research Assistant, Global Health

Suzuki, Mimi- Research Assistant, ASsuRED

Tee, Helena- Trial Manager, ERA

Thomson, Madelyn- Research Assistant, SCENE

Umar, Fatima- Research Assistant, PAAM

Windle, Emma- PhD Student

Contact us

Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry
Newham Centre for Mental Health
London E13 8SP

Tel: +44 (0)20 7540 4210/6755 (Main Office)