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Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry


The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry conducts research on social interactions ('what happens between people') in mental health care, including developing and evaluating innovative interventions, with a leading role in wide international collaborations. It is also involved in teaching, and the evaluation and improvement of services.

The Unit is jointly operated by Queen Mary University of London, and East London NHS Foundation Trust. It was established in 1997, and is located in the London Borough of Newham, in East London, a traditionally multi-ethnic area and the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. Since 2012, the Unit is a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre (the only one specifically for Mental Health Service Development worldwide). Head of the Unit is Professor Stefan Priebe.

The team of the Unit consists of about 40 full time researchers, PhD students and managerial/administrative staff. They work on a range of studies, which often involve interdisciplinary collaboration with social sciences and humanities. The research addresses concepts, methods and practice of social psychiatry, and includes historical and epidemiological aspects, evaluation of care in naturalistic and experimental studies, and the development and testing of innovative treatment methods, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Trials on novel interventions are conducted in collaboration with the registered Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

Since 2009, the Unit has generated more than £20m competitive research income from various funding bodies, in particular the European Commission and the National Institute for Health Research. More than 200 peer reviewed research papers have been published during this time.

To learn more about our research, please visit the Research section.

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