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About the Institute of Mental Health Sciences

Ulster University’s Institute of Mental Health Sciences (IMHS) is an exciting new multidisciplinary institute that will provide a holistic biopsychosocial approach to mental health research.

IMHS will be at the forefront of research studying mental health from Gene to Gym. Scientists aligned to the IMHS will work collaboratively on research, which examines the genetic underpinnings of mental health all the way through to how mental health issues can be alleviated through interventions promoting physical exercise.

The new IMHS will bring together Ulster’s world-leading research expertise in mental health from a range of disciplines including Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy, Psychology, Nursing & Health Sciences, Geography & Environmental Sciences, and Sports Sciences into one unique institute.

These disciplines will work with each other, colleagues from across the University, and key external stakeholders to co-create research in the field of Mental Health Sciences across seven key thematic areas: Trauma; Big data & Population Sciences; Resilience & Well-being in the Young; Mental Illness; Care & Recovery; Suicidal Behaviour; and Mental Health in Later-life & Cognitive Decline.

The institute will also focus on Capacity Building & Training; Multidisciplinarity & Collaboration; Public Engagement & Service User Involvement; and Research with Impact regionally, nationally and globally.

This unique approach will deliver innovative, outward facing, multidisciplinary research that will make a step change in the prevention of poor mental health and the provision of mental health care in Northern Ireland.

Our Core Values

  1. Public Engagement and Service User Involvement
  2. Research with Impact Regionally, Nationally and Globally
  3. Multidisciplinarity and Collaboration
  4. Capacity Building and Training for Research Excellence

Learn more about our core values

Mental Health Challenges

Mental Health is a major, growing problem in our society. The cost of mental health to the economy, the NHS and society as a whole, is estimated to be over £100 billion a year.

In Northern Ireland, 1 in 4 people will struggle with mental health issues at some point during their life. Compared to England, Northern Ireland has a 25% higher overall prevalence of mental illness and the highest level of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) out of over 30 countries studied across the world.

Mental Health is a major growing societal challenge and one that cannot be addressed by

simply managing the illness. The World Health Organization defines good health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The need for a multidisciplinary approach to mental health research is reflected both by the Department of Health and by the Research Councils UK. Indeed, the UK’s seven research councils have announced they will be working together to encourage and strengthen mental health research. They explicitly state that ‘more research is needed to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat mental illness’, and recognise that as a major societal challenge Mental Health requires novel cross-disciplinary research approaches, that is, research that spans more than one branch of specialist knowledge.

Our new Institute of Mental Health Sciences will provide a collaborative, holistic approach to mental health - bringing together world-leading research and expertise across a range of disciplines. An approach that looks beyond the short term, that delivers patient-centred solutions, looking at early intervention right through the life of the individual - from gene to gym.

What the Institute offers

  1. Accelerating advances in mental health sciences
  2. Development and analysis of databases focusing on mental health issues
  3. Unit of patient & public involvement and public engagement (ENGAGE)
  4. Mental health sciences doctoral training hub
  5. MSc in Mental Health Sciences
  6. Mental Health Sciences academy
  7. Collaborative Research with Impact