Epidemiology for policy on mental health

Mentally disordered offenders

In the late 1990s the main focus of mental health policy research at the Department of Health was on mental illness and offending. Funding was received from the Department to undertake two large-scale national studies in this area, in collaboration with Terry Brugha (Professor of Psychiatry, University of Leicester) Adrian Grounds (University Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry, Cambridge Institute of Criminology) and Howard Meltzer (Office for National Statistics).

The first study involved following up prisoners with psychosis, certain personality disorders and those with extremely high neurotic symptom scores who had been identified in the Office for National Statistics cross-sectional study of psychiatric morbidity in all prisons in England and Wales.

The second study of routes into medium secure psychiatric care in England and Wales succeeded in interviewing the clinical assessors of a stratified sample of 391 patients referred to the 98% of medium secure provision in England and Wales that participated in the study.

Fieldwork on both studies was undertaken by the Office for National Statistics.

The role of mental illness in inequalities in health

This was a joint project with Prof Rachel Jenkins of the World Health Organisation UK Office for Mental Health. It involved a systematic review and reanalysis of the National Household Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity.


Fryers T, Melzer D, Jenkins R, Brugha T. The distribution of the common mental disorders: social inequalities in Europe. Clin Pract Epidemol Ment Health. 2005 Sep 5;1:14.
PMID: 16143042

Melzer D, Fryers T, Jenkins R, eds. Social Inequalities and the Distribution of the Common Mental Disorders (Maudsley Monographs No. 44). London: Psychology Press, 2004.
ISBN: 978-1-84169-385-9

Fryers T, Melzer D, Jenkins R. Social inequalities and the common mental disorders: a systematic review of the evidence. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2003 May;38(5):229-37.
PMID: 12719837

Melzer D, Fryers T, Jenkins R, Brugha T, McWilliams B. Social position and the common mental disorders with disability: estimates from the National Psychiatric Survey of Great Britain. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2003 May;38(5):238-43.
PMID: 12719838

Melzer D, Tom BD, Brugha TS, Fryers T, Meltzer H. Common mental disorder symptom counts in populations: are there distinct case groups above epidemiological cut-offs? Psychol Med. 2002 Oct;32(7):1195-201.
PMID: 12420889