Research interests

My research involves quantitative and qualitative studies and reviews dealing with the early recognition and treatment of mental health problems, as well as the psychological and social factors that influence their course.

My work covers the fields of health services, mental health policy, psychopathology, treatments and interventions, and global mental health reform in post-conflict areas. My aim is to share research ideas and experience that may help to improve personal and clinical recovery from a mental health problem, improve quality of life, and enable social integration. My current research explores:

  • Cognitive-behaviour therapy for social anxiety disorder in psychosis
  • Effectiveness of interventions for GPs to identify and manage suicide risk in young people
  • Consumer participation in youth mental health services
  • Peer support for bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis
  • Mental health services reform in Gaza

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
Fantastic news – Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) was shortlisted for the National Lottery Health Project of the Year Award 2015. The winners were decided by public vote and announced in a ceremony on BBC One in September.

Postpartum Psychosis is a devastating illness that affects around 1400 new mums each year in the UK. Symptoms begin in the days following childbirth and include hallucinations, delusions, elation or depression, and extreme confusion. It is an emergency situation and new mothers usually need to be admitted, with their babies, to a Mother & Baby Unit. The illness is traumatic for women and their families, but with the right support, women can make a full recovery. APP is a collaborative project run by women with PP, health professionals and academics, hosted by Birmingham University, which provides information and support to families affected by postpartum psychosis.

Find out more information here:

Current Research

 An Evaluation of Online Peer Support for Women and Families affected by Postpartum Psychosis

Background: Whereas postnatal depression is common and support groups exist within local communities, most women who are affected by postpartum psychosis will never meet another women who has experienced it. Few NHS or voluntary sector organisations provide ongoing support, or any information, for those recovering from postpartum psychosis after discharge from hospital.

Study aim: Our study evaluates Action on Postpartum Psychosis peer support services provided to women and their families who have been affected by postpartum psychosis. To achieve our aim, we will explore the benefits of peer support and the experiences of providing peer support using a survey and in-depth qualitative interviews.

Research team: Dr Jessica Heron, Dr Lynda Tait, Miss Mia Waters, Miss Sarah Ross, and Dr Giles Berrisford.

The PRIMER Study


The PRIMER (PRactItioner Managing SuicidE Risk) Study

Background: Suicide is a major public health problem, and the second most common cause of death in young people aged 15-24 years. National policy has highlighted the importance of early identification, assessment, and management of at-risk young people. GPs are the primary point of contact for common mental health problems. Nevertheless, evidence shows that 45% of those who have completed suicide contacted their GP in the month before their death. Systematic reviews have concluded that risk factors or early warning signs of suicide in young people go undetected by GPs. Indeed, suicide risk assessment is an area that most GPs find particularly challenging. Research that focuses on youth suicide prevention within primary care is urgently needed.

Study aim: To develop an educational intervention for GPs in identifying and managing suicide risk in young people aged 14-25 years.

See related papers on Publications page:

  • Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive-behaviour therapy for social anxiety disorder in psychosis.
  • Educational interventions for general practitioners to identify and manage depression as a suicide risk factor in young people: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.
  • Exploring general practitioners' views and experiences on suicide risk assessment and management of young people in primary care: a qualitative study in the UK.

Research team: Dr Maria Michail, Dr Lynda Tait
Funder: Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group