Explore our research

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Our underlying commitment is to ensure that UCLan research brings benefit to patients and vulnerable people, who are diagnosed, supported and cared for, or at risk, because of mental health needs.

Mental Health and Wellbeing


Through research UCLan aims:

  • To raise the profile of mental health-related research at UCLan by promoting collaborative work between academics, professionals in health and social care, service users, carers and the wider community
  • To increase the quality and breadth of research on mental health at UCLan by developing the capacity and capability of researchers and research partners
  • To form a better understanding of the nature of mental health, illness and recovery and the conflicting demands on good mental health and social care. This is achieved through high-quality research, development and consultancy that span a number of themes.

Mental Health Research at UCLan (MHRU) is an interdisciplinary group, which brings together interested and active parties who focus their research endeavours in the area of mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan. MHRU provides a focus for research and research leadership in mental health across the University. It promotes a co-ordinated and collaborative approach both within UCLan and with external partners, including service users, professionals in health and social care and the wider community.

A key aspect of the groups research involves working with vulnerable people and communities, mental health in aging populations, coercion and safety, service user involvement and partnership working including advocacy. Professor Joy Duxbury chairs the MHRU and oversees the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The Centre focuses upon key research and policy agendas including:

  • Risk, coercion and mental health practice
  • Participation and social inclusion
  • Philosophy and mental health
  • Wellbeing across the lifespan
  • Evaluation, innovation and change in mental health policy and services
  • Art and mental health

Whilst philosophically informed, much of our research has direct implications for system development from policy to practice including therapeutic interventions and the roles and relationships that promote good service delivery. We examine the development and evaluation of new ways of working and different approaches to and models of care, with emphasis upon service user collaboration.

We also examine conceptual and evaluative complexities at the heart of mental healthcare. Projects include:

  • A review of the quality of independent mental health advocate services, funded by the Department of Health
  • Conceptualisations of mental wellbeing by black and minority ethnic communities in Scotland
  • A review of medical theories on restraint-related deaths in the UK, funded by the Ministry of Justice

To find out more about research in Mental Health and Wellbeing, contact Professor Mick McKeown:
Tel: +44 (0)1772 893884


An example of our commitment to practical improvements in mental healthcare is reflected in research on the causes and management of patient aggression, which has resulted in the development of an attitude scale to explore staff and patient perspectives.

The Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale has been translated into a number of languages and has been adopted in a variety of clinical areas including the forensic, older people and general hospital setting. It has resulted in collaborative research in America, Canada and Australia and with the European Violence in Psychiatry Research Group.

A key area focuses on service users’ and carers’ experiences including the funding of a Community Engagement and Service User and Carer Support project, which attracts international recognition. We provide advice, support and training for mental health service user researchers. Following a successful funded research project from the DH members of our team inform the government on policy for advocacy services.

Research in this group is strongly collaborative; we are committed to developing partnerships reflected in recent conjoint grant applications and successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships examining primary care trust commissioning and ethnicity and health issues pertaining to in-patient care.

A member of our team has been awarded, with colleagues, an Arts and Health Practice Award 2011 by the Royal Society for Public Health.

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