Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Primary Care Mental Health

Common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety are among the most frequently encountered and debilitating conditions in primary care, affecting about 5% of the population. Such conditions can occur in isolation or can occur in combination with other long term conditions, where they complicate management and are associated with worse health outcomes. Other conditions, such as dementia, are less common, but increasing in prevalence and account for a very considerable proportion of personal distress, health and social care costs in the UK. The majority of care for people with mental disorders is provided in primary care setting.

The work of this theme focuses the development of interventions and models of care to improve the management and coordination of care for people with a range of mental disorders within the primary care setting.

Much of the work in primary care mental health cross cuts with Primary Care Focused Health Service Research. We have produced work focussing on patients with mental health disorders in vulnerable groups especially, some are shown below to demonstrate the diversity of subjects within primary care mental health that we cover:  

  1. Researchers within the APEx collaboration have researched treatment resistant depression for patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder who remain clinically depressed after two or more different evidence-based treatments.
  2. The CADENCE project conducted a pilot trial of enhanced psychological care for people undergoing cardiac rehabilitation treatment who are depressed after an acute cardiac event

Vulnerable groups and mental health past projects

  • Older people
  • Younger people
  • People with long term health conditions





Older people

Psychological intervention evaluation

Improving mental health and reducing antipsychotic use in people with dementia in care homes: the WHELD research programme including two RCTs

NIHR programme grant for applied research, £2,106,391.00, PI: C Ballard, April 2010 - July 2020

Antipsychotic Best Practice

Antipsychotics Best Practice Guide Appendix


Psychological intervention evaluation


Assessing the effectiveness of Enhanced Psychological Care for patients with depressive symptoms attending cardiac rehabilitation compared with treatment as usual (CADENCE): a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial. NIHR HTA programme grant, £458,964.60, PI: J Campbell, April 2014 - June 2018 Publication

Psychological Intervention evaluation


Mechanisms of Action of Group Interventions (MAGI) study.

NIHR/MRC EME, £158,360, PI: Jane Smith, Jan 2016 - Aug 2017  

People with long term health conditions

Younger people

Improving the mental health of children and young people with long term conditions

People with long term health conditions

COINCIDE Trial. Develop and evaluate a collaborative care intervention for anxiety and depression for people with CHD and/or diabetes in primary care


PI: Chris Dickens, Oct 2013  
People with long term health conditions CHOICE Programme. Investigate psychosocial contributors to the use of urgent and unscheduled care among people with long term physical health conditions  PI: Else Guthrie (Manchester), Jan 2014  
  Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Released Prisoners: the Role of the Probation Service. A Scoping Study    

Older people


Reducing urgent hospital admissions for residents of care homes    

Older people


Mapping service for people with dementia in the South West    
  COBRA Trial    

Mental health past projects

Topic Project Details Output
Psychological Intervention evaluation Combining behavioural activation with physical activity promotion for adults with depression: findings of a parallel-group pilot randomised controlled trial (BAcPAc)   Publication
Psychological Intervention evaluation PREVENT Trial. To establish whether Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) provides an effective alternative relapse prevention approach to maintenance antidepressant (m-ADM) in primary care settings for patients with a history of recurrent     
Psychological Intervention evaluation MIR Trial. Evaluate the benefits of adding mirtazapine to people who have failed to respond to first line antidepressants PI: David Kessler (Bristol)  

Psychological Medicine

  • CCUK: How depression leads to relapse in people with UC 
  • HOME: How can we best address prolonged acute hospital stays in older inpatients with medical-psychiatric multimorbidity? 
  • SCENE: Improving quality of life and health outcomes of patients with psychosis through a new structured intervention for expanding social networks 


Dementia/ Care Homes

The following are themes within the REACH (Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health) programme. Visit each theme for a breakdown of the projects.

  • Living well with cognitive impairment and dementia 
  • Supporting family care 
  • Improving the quality of care 
  • Maintaining cognitive health 


Suicide and Self Harm

  • The ASsuRED Project - 5-year NIHR funded programme that at aims to develop and test a new intervention for people who present in Emergency Departments having harmed themselves (May 2019)