We ensure the outcomes of our research benefit a wide body of users through relationships with non-academic beneficiaries including people who experience health and mental health difficulties; health and mental health practitioners, professionals and policy makers; commercial organisations working to increase accessibility to health, mental health and wellbeing interventions; and facilities that look after animals.

People affected by mental health issues

We work with organisations who support those affected by mental health problems to understand their needs and objectives and focus our research accordingly. For example, we have partnerships with The McPin Foundation and Youth Access to support the development and provision of counselling in the community and voluntary sector. Our research has enabled these partners to enact policy change and successfully bid for vital funds, thereby shaping the ability of the third sector to support to people with mental health difficulties and ensuring improved access to mental health support for those that need it. We also engage with local stakeholders such as Roehampton Youth Centre and Alton Green Regeneration to support our local community through our research. Mick Cooper’s inventory of preferences for shared decision making in psychotherapy has been used by patients worldwide.

Mental health practice and policy

We engage with practitioners, professionals and policy makers to inform practice and policy around mental health interventions and access to services. For example, through working with the Department for Education, Mick Cooper’s ESRC funded ETHOS study, a multicentre trial of school-based humanistic counselling in adolescents, has had direct impact on school counselling programmes and associated governmental policy.

Similarly, Cecilia Essau’s work to develop and disseminate ‘Super Skills for Life’, a resilience-building programme for children and adolescents, has increased access to evidence-based mental health interventions for young people by being embedded in government mental health policies in Malaysia, Mauritius and Romania, and has supported at least 600,000 children and young people across 17 countries to date.

Research by James Davies and John Rae was fundamental to facilitating the 2019 Public Health England review of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal and informing the revised UK National Institute for Care and Health Excellence Clinical guidelines on antidepressant withdrawal. Our staff, led by James Davies, have also worked with a range of stakeholders, including the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence and the British Psychological Society, to disseminate and discuss a documentary film, Medicating Normal, as part of guidance for psychological therapists, that enables conversations with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs. James Gilleen’s COVID study was included in a recent parliamentary report on impact of COVID-19 on

NHS staff - policy development in relation to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on frontline NHS staff. Cecilia Essau’s study on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on internet use in adolescents was featured at the WHO website on Global literature on coronavirus disease

Animal welfare

We conduct research into human and non-human animal behaviour and emotion that directly informs animal welfare practices for facilities that look after animals. For example, work by Stuart Semple on the NC3Rs funded project, ‘Attention bias: a novel method to assess psychological wellbeing in group-housed non-human primates’, was designed and carried out in close partnership with a key end-user of the research, the Medical Research Council’s Centre for Macaques, demonstrating the way we embed the needs of our research partners into our research. The results of this study have been translated into beneficial changes to the housing and husbandry of laboratory-housed primates at this and other facilities.