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Our research has shown the impact of mental illness treatments and the effects of engagement with the mental health care system, and we know that the care setting and the experiences of care providers are vital for treatment success.

Our researchers have conducted outstanding studies of service users’ perceptions of care and recovery and we know that recovery from mental illness is more than merely the alleviation of symptoms.

Psychologists and collaborators from Social Policy are researching barriers to care in special populations such as ex-service personnel. Our holistic approach means that our researchers seek to understand recovery in its broadest sense. Adopting a whole systems approach, we wish to continue to study how individuals with mental health conditions and life crisis experience the services and care that they receive.

We want to discover which treatments work, for which people, at which times. We also want to know about how people cope with adversity and how people flourish despite having a mental illness. We are interested in resilience and survival.

Having studied the barriers to accessing care and the impact of stigma, we will now work to improve access to, and quality of mental health and substance use treatments in Northern Ireland and beyond. Our colleagues in the Institute of Nursing and Health Sciences host an annual Mental Health conference this year titled Quality & Compassion: Challenges and Opportunities for Mental Health.

The conference speakers focused on the quality of mental health care by speaking about interpersonal relationships and compassion in Mental Health Nursing, and on the coordination for quality mental health care. Person-Centred Practice is key to the ethos of the Institute.