Mental Health Research for All: Inclusion of diverse experiences in mental health and care research


Evidence shows that communities living in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England have some of the highest numbers of people affected by poor mental health. However, they are also less likely to use mental health services, have poorer access to high-quality care, and are underrepresented in mental health research. 

Staff who work in mental health are also unequally represented, and there is a need to improve research opportunities for allied health and community staff.

Mental Health Research for All (MH-ALL) is a three-year programme led by NIHR ARC North Thames, aiming to tackle barriers to mental health and care research participation for underserved staff and communities in parts of East London and Essex. It will do this by:

  • improving the ability of staff, working across roles and organisations in mental health in the North Thames region, to use and conduct research
  • improving the uptake and representation of patient and public participation in mental health research in the North Thames region.

The programme will cover three key areas:

  1. Understanding barriers to research participation – we will interview and survey people living with mental health conditions and staff, map regional research resources and assets, and identify the local gaps in research support structures, knowledge, and skills.

  2. Building research capacity – We will create mental health research training opportunities in the ARC North Thames Academy training centre, start a mental health research awareness and champion scheme in our local Integrated Care Systems, fund training posts in prioritised areas (underserved mental health conditions and groups), and train researchers to mentor mental health staff to conduct research

  3. Share, sustain, and spread – we will create a local Mental Health Research Panel, implement a Learning Health Systems approach, and co-create communities of practice with shared interests.

This work is funded by the Department of Health and Social care (DHSC).

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