Research News

TOGETHER study now open with new survey

Four teenagers chatting

Are you interested in helping young people’s mental health research by completing a short online survey about your views of supporting social connectedness for young people with mental health problems?

The TOGETHER study is looking for practitioners who support young people aged 16-25 years to take part in a short online survey. Taking part will help researchers to learn whether future research should continue to explore the benefits of social connectedness in young people's mental health.

Who can take part? 

You can take part if you are practitioner in any service or organisation that currently supports young people aged 16-25.

What will taking part involve?

Taking part will involve completing a short online survey that will take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete. The survey will ask you questions about:

  • Yourself and your professional experience
  • Your views on supporting young people with mental health problems to increase their social connectedness

Contact the research team...

If you have any questions about the study, please contact the research team using the details below (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm):
01603 421397

Need more information? Willing to take part?

Read TOGETHER study now open with new survey…

MINDS vlog launched to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day

On this special day of International Clinical Trials Day, Sarah Rae has launched her new vlog where she will share her experiences of being the co-lead on the MINDS study.

As Sarah explains in her new vlog she has used her lived experience of mental health inpatient wards  to get this research study off the ground with a view to improving the outcomes for others through this research.

Sarah will regularly update us on how it is to co-lead a large study along with fellow co-lead NSFT's research director Jon Wilson. This week she tells us how the whole study began and how much she values co-production. Find out more about MINDS here.

Read MINDS vlog launched to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day…

International Nurses Day 2022: Lead Research Nurse Louise talks research

For International Nurses Day Lead Research Nurse Louise caught up with Communications Officer Claire to talk about her many roles at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) Research Department. Louise McCarthy talks about NREG - the Nursing Research and Evaluation Group - which aims to get more nurses at NSFT involved and knowing about research.

Louise McCarthy explains what keeps her motivated in research and why it is important.

Louise talks about taking part in a research trial herself - what is it like to experience taking part in research from the 'other side'?


If you are interested to know more about research in the trust - do contact 

Read International Nurses Day 2022: Lead Research Nurse Louise talks research…

Research linking with Early Intervention Service

For International Nurses Day, Thursday 12 May, we hear from NSFT Research Nurse Caroline Sheldon about how s he works with the Early Intervention teams to get the word out about the research we are doing.

My role asCaroline Sheldon, Research Nurse a research delivery nurse is to facilitate opportunities for clinicians, service users and our communities to build their knowledge around research. I promote informed choice within the wide spectrum of ‘research’ and the opportunities that lie within. With this in mind I wanted to develop an initiative which made research more accessible to service users.

The majority of current studies for our adult population are really relevant for service users of the early intervention team (EI) the service that supports people with first episode psychosis. Most relevant is the PPiP2 study (Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis). There is evidence that some cases of psychosis may be caused by a specific problem with the immune system, this study aims to see how many people with psychosis may have this specific problem. This can be found out by testing your blood for specific antibodies.

I reached out to the EI teams across Norfolk with the hope I could invite myself along on the days they run their physical health clinics. Their response has been fantastic and what developed from this makes me incredibly proud.

The teams were all happy to have some study specific training to aid in identifying potential participants. I was invited to attend clinical team meetings to offer support for case managers to identify potential participants, discuss and ask questions.

“Our bodies and minds are not separate so it’s not surprising that mental ill health can affect your body. That’s one of the reasons that EI focus on physical health and its importance. It’s been really interesting learning about the PPIP study and working alongside Caroline with service users. Working in collaboration together has helped to promote the research, given us a clearer understanding of its purpose and more importantly helped our service users feel empowered to potentially help others diagnosed with Psychosis.”            

Sally Hallett, Clinical Support Worker

The interest and support I have received from the nurses leading these clinics and the wider teams has been amazing. All were happy to add to their role within the clinic by having conversations with service users in the clinic to see if they would like to talk to a researcher about opportunities to take part in research. I have been able to offer a bit back and support the clinic with phlebotomy skills when needed and for me this initiative has felt like a true piece of collaborative working.

Because of the support from the nurse leads at some point in the future, all EI service users will have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with a researcher. Service users will be able to make their own informed decision about taking part in research, whether that is participating in a study, offering ideas and feedback about research or collaborating in the development of new research. To me that is something to be very proud of. Below are some thoughts from the my colleagues themselves.

“It has been great Chloe Creed, mental health nurseto work with Caroline and the wider research team to understand the different studies that are available to our service users. Caroline and I discussed different ways of offering information and support with all that is involved for our service users and we have been able to provide a service that is efficient and relevant, by combining our physical health clinics with face-to-face meetings with Caroline or another member of the research team. This has improved the uptake of the studies where blood tests are required, as this is carried out at the same time and has allowed us to work more closely to understand how to provide the best care and treatment. Thank you, Caroline, for reaching out to us! Happy International Nurses Day!”

Chloe Creed, Mental Health Nurse

If you are interested in being a research link for the trust or would like to find out more - please email

Read Research linking with Early Intervention Service…

New project to offer hope after a diagnosis of dementia

A new study focussing on how NHS mental health Recovery Colleges can help to support people with dementia is being launched by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation TrusTwo older men chatting in a cafet’s (NSFT) research department. The study is called DiSCOVERY and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Recovery Colleges offer educational courses for people who use mental health services, their families and staff. We want to understand more about what attending Recovery College courses is like for people with dementia, their families and staff. And whether people living with dementia find designing and delivering courses helps them.

Juniper West, NSFT’s Research Lead for Older People’s Services co-leading the project explains, “Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is life-changing for the person and their family and friends. Stigma can make adjusting to the diagnosis frightening and isolating. Where people live, the type of dementia they have, or lack of opportunities to meet peers, can all affect the quality of support post-diagnosis.”

The People, Participation and Inclusion (PPI) group will be central to all the research activities in the study. Members will include both people with dementia who have experience of working with staff to produce a Recovery College dementia course, and people with dementia who have attended a course from across the UK.

The findings from the study will be used to produce guidance, learning and organise resources for UK Recovery Colleges. These can then be adapted to suit local dementia courses. We will involve people with dementia, their families and staff in creating these resources.

If you work in the recovery college or memory services – please fill in our survey. We want to understand how mental health Recovery Colleges might be supporting people living with dementia in your area - please follow this link for the survey .

To find out more – and to read case studies - here is the DiSCOVERY webpage

Read New project to offer hope after a diagnosis of dementia…

Cath Pickles, founder of Restitute and research collaborator

Cath Pickles, CEO of Restitute On this week's Mental Health and You podcast, we hear from Cath Pickles, founder of Restitute. She shares her experiences of her daughter's disclosure of sexual abuse. Cath has learnt so much through supporting her daughter (often through desperate internet searches at 2am whilst waiting for her to go to sleep) and she explains how she has gone on to help carers of survivors of sexual and violent abuse by setting up Restitute.

Cath explains on the podcast the effects the trauma has had on her daughter and the knock-on effects for the whole family. Cath felt she learnt so much from her experiences that she had to share her knowledge and offer her support to other families in the same position. Surprisingly, it is sometimes a skip and help with a clear-out that can help the most for families who are living daily with trauma, guilt and shame. 

Using her lived experience Cath is now working with NSFT on one of our projects ASPIRE representing the voice of carers and parents of children who have experienced ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and giving advice on how the intervention can be more effectively delivered.

Cath is a big supporter of research and Restitute is part of our NSFT Researching Together Network which encourages charities, schools and community groups across Norfolk and Suffolk to join our group to hear about research opportunities, suggest research to us and to share knowledge. If you are interested in finding out more about the Researching Together Network please email or visit the Researching Together Network page. 

Find out more about Restitute here.


Read Cath Pickles, founder of Restitute and research collaborator…

First service user-led research project for NSFT

Sarah Rae, Co-lead on MINDS

Sarah Rae, a mental health service user has brought together a nationally recognised team of researchers to develop a major new research study. The NIHR funded study called MINDS aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of those being discharged from mental health hospitals.

Sarah has experienced difficulties when discharged from mental health wards in the past. She will now work alongside researchers at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) on this one-million-pound study. Sarah is determined to use her lived experience to improve services. She will co-lead the research.

“I have had two long stay admissions. On the first occasion I was discharged at very short notice. During a more recent admission I became institutionalised after spending 8 months on the ward. I was terrified of going back into the community. This fear was made worse by the fact that staff did not try to understand my worries or offer any coping strategies. There was no collaborative discharge planning before leaving hospital. The knock-on effect on my well-being and recovery was huge.

When I approached Corinna Hackmann and Jon Wilson at NSFT research they were both enthusiastic about my idea for a research project. They regarded my lived experience to be of equal value to their academic skills. We had a shared vision from the outset. They recognised how service users could benefit from research into how discharge processes could be improved.”

Sarah Rae, Co-lead on MINDS

Around 50,000 people leave mental healthcare hospitals every year. However, a national survey from the mental health charity Mind found that 40% of people leaving mental health hospitals have no plan in place to support them after they leave.

The research team, including leading academics from across the UK, will work with mental health service users and carers to develop a new support package for discharge. This is thanks to funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

“No care plan, no follow up. I came out last week, again no care plan, no medication,” Service User

Dr Corinna Hackmann, co-investigator on the MINDS project said, “National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that discharge planning should include staff working together with service users.

"We know that mental health workers want to create a positive experience for those leaving hospital. However there are many complicated factors that can disrupt this. The aim of MINDS is to combine:

  • the expertise of people who have accessed mental health services
  • clinicians
  • researchers
  • engineers
  • commissioners
  • and managers

to develop solutions.”

“The cutting-edge part of this research is the work we are doing with health care systems engineers at the University of Cambridge. We plan to make a tangible ‘aid’ to help in the discharge process”, explained joint-lead on MINDS Consultant Psychiatrist, Jon Wilson.

"The idea is to adopt industry tools to understand and adapt the discharge process from the point of view of the people involved. This will include why discharges are sometimes not well planned and what people feel they need to stay well after leaving hospital. This ‘Engineering Better Care’ toolkit can be tailored to different situations.

“We are delighted that this systems approach, co-developed with:

  • systems engineers
  • health and care professionals
  • improvement experts
  • and patient representatives

can be applied to an important systems challenge such as discharge in mental health,” Professor John Clarkson, Director of the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge

For more information and to register to take part visit the MINDS study page.

Read First service user-led research project for NSFT…

New positions: Exciting opportunities at NSFT research

An exciting opportunity for 3 Research Assistant Psychologists at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is available for applicants wishing to start a career in mental health clinical research.

The roles will be supporting work packages of two funded NIHR research studies.

The first study MINDS aims to co-develop mental health adult inpatient discharge processes.

The second study DISCOVERY aims to undertake a realist evaluation to co-produce post-diagnostic dementia support in the Recovery College model.The roles will work collaboratively with service user representatives and our national partners across the NHS and Academia.

The positions are available full-time for 36 months and are ideal for people who are wanting experience of working in a busy clinical research environment.

Deadline for applications: 24 November 2021

Apply here:Job Advert (

The third opportunity for a Research Assistant Psychologist will be supporting people living in Norfolk and Suffolk to participate in national mental health and dementia research studies.

The position is initially available for 12 months and is ideal for people who are wanting clinical experience of working in a busy research environment. Opportunities are available for wider research experiences as part of the role.

Deadline for applications: 24 November 2021

Apply here:

MINDS Study Manager

An exciting opportunity for a MINDS Study Manager at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is available for applicants wishing to grow a career in mental health clinical research. The role will be leading on the management and delivery of a funded NIHR research study co-developing mental health adult inpatient discharge processes. The work is supported by ARC East of England.

The role will work collaboratively with service user representatives and our national partners East London and Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trusts, alongside Universities of Cambridge, Northumbria, East Anglia, Hertfordshire, Anglia Ruskin University and Kings College London.

The position is available full-time for 36 months and is ideal for someone with previous study management skills and knowledge/experience of qualitative methods and co-production.

Deadline for applications: 30 November 2021

Apply here:

Read New positions: Exciting opportunities at NSFT research…

Autumn Research Seminar Series: Latest in Collaborative Research

Children and Young People: Thursday 18th November 2-4pm - on MS Teams

Child and youth seminar contributors

A taste of the diverse range of children and young people’s research at NSFT

Come along for a fascinating afternoon;  find out about research on exercise for depression, a study about life story work for children in care, an intervention delivered in schools for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) symptoms and our initiative to increase the numbers of young people taking part and helping in the design of mental health research at NSFT.


  • Dr Daksha Trivedi and Dr David Wellsted, co-leads of the READY trial, University of Hertfordshire
  • Dr Ella Mickleburgh, NSFT Research, introducing the LIMTLESS study.
  • Dr Brioney Gee, Children and Young People’s Lead NSFT, talking about the BEST findings and what comes next.
  • Kayte Rowe, Deputy Manager at NSFT talking about the CHEYENNE initiative.

Click here to join the meeting

There will be a Q&A panel at the end.

Read Autumn Research Seminar Series: Latest in Collaborative Research…

Can Granny and Grandads help their grandchildren’s mental health and vice versa?

Granny with her granddaughter looking at a phone

Here at NSFT research we are interested in relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, and whether working on this relationship could improve the mental health and wellbeing of them both. It is just the beginning of an idea for a study and we want to start by getting your input on what the study might entail. Please watch this short film to find out more from those involved: 


The questionnaire will ask about your experience of this topic and whether you think it would be something worth researching. The questionnaire should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Here is the link to the questionnaire:

The questionnaire is anonymous (you won’t be asked for your name or other information that could identify you) and no-one outside the NSFT research team will have access to your answers. We will share a summary of what we find out and our next steps on the research pages of the NSFT website.

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email

Read Can Granny and Grandads help their grandchildren’s mental health and vice versa?…
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