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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Professor Mark Freestone


Professor of Mental Health and Director of Education

Twitter: @DrFreestone


I am Professor of Mental Health based at the Centre of Psychiatry and Mental Health and Director of Education of the Wolfson Institute of Population Health. I originally trained in sociology but now work in public and forensic mental health, conducting epidemiological and health services research into the efficacy of treatments for those with mental health problems, specifically those at risk of violence or becoming victims of violence. I am also an Honorary Senior Researcher at East London NHS Foundation Trust and a Fellow of the Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI). I have recently consulted on forensic mental health issues for NHS England and the London Violence Reduction Programme, as well as films and television shows such as the BBC drama series Killing Eve and HBO drama Rain Dogs. I have also written a book based on my research and experiences on psychopathy: Making a Psychopath: My Journey into 7 Dangerous minds

My current work includes: the epidemiology of violence; outcomes research in forensic mental health services; causal inference networks for violence risk management; clinical sub-types of personality disorder and psychopathy; substance misuse as a risk factor for violence; public health consequences of gambling addiction and patterns of service use by young men in the UK. As Director of Education I am also involved in developing new Programmes representing research and clinical expertise within the Wolfson Institute and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.  

I have previously held grants from the NIHR and UKRI and am currently mental health co-director for the North Thames Applied Research Collaboration (NT-ARC). 


Research Interests:

  • Machine-learning algorithms to assist decision-making in management of violence risk
  • Innovative use of routine healthcare data to model mental health outcomes
  • Psychological milieu therapy and therapeutic communities
  • Clinically distinct sub-groups within psychopathy and personality disorders
  • Social climate within forensic settings
  • Psychosocial interventions for personality disorder
  • Causal mechanisms for violence

I am currently involved in the following:


Please click through to see a complete list of Mark's publications

Outstanding publications

Hua, P., Shakoor, S., Fenton, S. J., Freestone, M., Weich, S., & Bhui, K. (2023). Racialised staff–patient relationships in inpatient mental health wards: a realist secondary qualitative analysis of patient experience data. BMJ Ment Health26(1).

Freestone, M. (2022). Making a psychopath: my journey into seven dangerous minds. St. Martin's Press.

Mathlin, G., Freestone, M., & Jones, H. (2022). Factors associated with successful reintegration for male offenders: a systematic narrative review with implicit causal model. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1-40.

Ronaldson, A., Freestone, M., Zhang, H., Marsh, W., & Bhui, K. (2022). Using Structural Equation Modelling in Routine Clinical Data on Diabetes and Depression: Observational Cohort StudyJMIRx Med3(2), e22912.

Bhui, K., Otis, M., Silva, M. J., Halvorsrud, K., Freestone, M., & Jones, E. (2020). Extremism and common mental illness: cross-sectional community survey of White British and Pakistani men and women living in England. The British Journal of Psychiatry217(4), 547-554.

Ronaldson, A., Chandakas, E., Kang, Q., Brennan, K., Akande, A., Ebyarimpa, I., Wyllie, E., Howard, G., Fradgley, R., Freestone, M. and Bhui, K., (2020). Cohort profile: The East London Health and Care Partnership Data Repository: using novel integrated data to support commissioning and research. BMJ open.


I am currently supervising the following PhD students:

  • Hannah Lewis - Co-production of a Body Image Intervention for Young South Asian women.
  • Kolbrun Kristinsdottir -The role of Extreme Overvalued beliefs in lone actor violence.
  • Jessica Atkinson – Experiences of therapeutic services for people with histories of complex trauma: a mixed-methods study.
  • Alessandro Tridico - Railway suicides: mapping the geography and mental health implications of events. 
  • Kalpana Dein – Prevalence and Outcomes of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Medium Secure Units in England and Wales.

I am also supervising the following post-doc fellowship:

I welcome enquires for supervising PhD projects relating to mental health, use of clinical informatics, forensic mental health and risk assessment, and the epidemiology of psychopathy and personality disorder.

Public Engagement

I regularly publish media articles and podcasts such as the following:  

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