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Queen Mary research unit gains international recognition

The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry at Queen Mary, University of London has gained recognition from the World Health Organisation, having been named a WHO Collaborating Centre.

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Professor Stefan Priebe
Professor Stefan Priebe

The research unit is part of Queen Mary’s Centre for Psychiatry, and is based at the Newham Centre for Mental Health, part of East London NHS Foundation Trust. It is specifically designated to 'mental health services development', and is one of a small network of centres that are involved in writing the European Mental Health Action Plan.

WHO Collaborating Centres are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated to carry out activities in support of WHO programmes.

Since its establishment in 1997, the Unit has built-up close collaborations with local clinical services and has strong international links. Its research focuses on concepts, methods and practice of social and community psychiatry. This includes historical and epidemiological aspects, evaluation of care in naturalistic and experimental studies, the development and testing of innovative treatment methods, and specific studies on communication and therapeutic relationships.

The Unit is housed within the Newham Centre for Mental Health and the services provided there have benefited directly from its research. This included the establishment of novel services and treatments such as a model day hospital, body psychotherapy, computer-mediated approaches for clinicians to communicate with patients in the community, and training modules for psychiatrists about how to engage with patients with psychosis.

Professor Stefan Priebe, Director of the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, said: “This is an important development for the centre, and a welcome recognition for the international expertise we have built up since we started from scratch in 1997.”

“This designation will increase our opportunity to influence mental health policies in Europe, and will benefit mental health services in East London through research driven innovation and internationally leading expertise.”

Marie Gabriel, Chair of East London NHS Foundation Trust said: “East London NHS Foundation Trust along with Queen Mary, University of London are delighted to be embarking on this partnership for the ultimate benefit of people with mental health disorders in East London. This is an exciting and unique development and we look forward to sharing knowledge and expertise to improve outcomes for people in our care.”

Queen Mary, University of London and the East London NHS Foundation Trust are members of the UCL Partners, one of five accredited academic health science systems in the UK set up to translate cutting edge research and innovation into measurable health gain for patients and populations.

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