By taking part in research you will be helping us to test and develop new treatments and methods of care.

All our studies have been reviewed by the Health Research Authority and are carried out by experts from clinical, research and academic backgrounds.

PPiP2: Prevalence of neuronal cell surface antibodies in patients with psychotic illness

Who this study is aimed at?

Service users aged 18-70 with symptoms of psychosis for longer than two weeks, but less than two years.

Who can’t take part?

Service users who have had psychotic symptoms for longer than two years.

Study summary

Staff will collect a small sample of blood from you and other people with psychosis symptoms from across the country. They will also collect some information about your symptoms and background. If your blood test then shows that your immune system is not working properly they will discuss this with you. Researchers are exploring a possible treatment in a separate study called SINAPPS2 and you may be able to take part in this study.

Study visits

One visit of approximately 15 minutes.

Services taking part

Limbrick Health Centre, Longley Centre Maple Ward, Michael Carlisle Centre, Burbage and Stanage Wards.

Who to contact

Dr Raihan Talukdar (raihan.talukdar@shsc.nhs.uk) and Jennifer Bingham (jennifer.bingham@shsc.nhs.uk).

Find out more

Find out more here.

Social Environment and Early Psychosis: An Urban Mind Study using smartphone-based monitoring to understand and predict risk of psychotic relapse at the individual level

Who this study aimed at?

Anyone aged 16-40 years old who has recently experienced their first ever episode of psychosis and who has access to a smartphone and the internet.

Who can't take part?

People who have experienced an episode of psychosis on more than one occasion, or are unable to make a rational decision whether or not to participate in the study, or do not have access to the internet and a smartphone.

Study summary

Psychosis affects 2-3% of the population and is a severely debilitating disorder. Urban Mind have developed a smartphone app which monitors patients who have recently had their first episode of psychosis and measures their daily social stress.

Study visits

An initial assessment and follow-up assessments at four, eight and 12 months as well as daily app notifications.

Services taking part

Limbrick Centre.

Who to contact

Paul Lynch (paul.lynch@shsc.nhs.uk) Charlotte Colbeck (charlotte.colbeck@shsc.nhs.uk) and Rose Bidewell (rose.bidewell.@shsc.nhs.uk).

Find out more

www.urbanmind.info

AQUEDUCT: Achieving Quality and Effectiveness in Dementia Using Crisis Teams

Who this study is aimed at?

Service users and their carers who have recently used a team that works with people who have dementia and who have experienced a crisis.

Who can't take part?

Service users and their carers without a diagnosis of dementia.

Study summary 

This research study is looking at the use of a resource kit in practice with Teams Managing Crisis in Dementia (TMCD). The resource kit is for use by teams with people with dementia and their carers at times of crisis.  

Study visits 

A one-off interview by a researcher with the person who has dementia and separately with their carer. This will take approximately 30 minutes for each interview and will take place by phone or online via laptop or tablet.  

Services taking part

Older Adults services based at Edmund Road.

Who to contact  

Hannah Gower (hannah.gower@shsc.nhs.uk)

FISMI: Food Insecurity in adults with Serious Mental Illness

Who this study is aimed at?

People who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or another psychotic disorder.

Who can't take part?

Service users who have not been diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

Study summary 

This research study is seeking the opinions and experiences of people living with SMI in relation to food insecurity. Researchers would also like to find out what potential approaches will help people living with SMI to overcome food insecurity and be able to access sufficient food. 

Food insecurity means the lack of financial resources needed to ensure that a person has reliable access to enough food to meet their dietary, nutritional and social needs. This is sometimes referred to as food poverty.

Study visits 

A one-off survey which can be completed online or on paper.

The online survey can be completed here.

If you would like a paper copy the researchers will also send you a reply-paid envelope for your response.

There is also an option to take part in a one-off interview. This will take place by phone or online via laptop or tablet and will take around 30 to 60 minutes.

Services taking part

Various services across the Trust.

Who to contact  

Abby Connelly (abby.connelly@shsc.nhs.uk)

NoDem: Practices, attitudes and outcomes of people with memory problems but no diagnosis of dementia

Who this study is aimed at?

People who have been referred by their GP to memory assessment services but do not receive a dementia diagnosis from their specialist.

Who can't take part?

People who have been given a dementia diagnosis from memory assessment services.

Study summary 

This study wants to understand the attitudes and views of patients with memory problems who are referred to a memory assessment service by their GP but who do not receive a dementia diagnosis from their specialist. Researchers would also like to understand the reason for the GP's referral and possible changes to lifestyle practices.

Lifestyle practices are the way people live their daily lives, such as physical activity levels and dietary habits. This study will look at attitudes, views and any lifestyle changes immediately after visiting the memory assessment service and after a one-year period.

Study visits 

A questionnaire which can be completed online or on paper. After one year, a follow-up questionnaire can be completed.

Services taking part

Memory Service

Who to contact  

Catherine Kerr (catherine.kerr@shsc.nhs.uk) or Hannah Gower (hannah.gower@shsc.nhs.uk)

Digital Technologies for Health Promotion: Service User Views on Digital Health Promotion in Youth Mental Health

Who this study is aimed at?

People aged 16-30 and currently living with a diagnosed mental health condition.

Who can't take part?

People who have a current eating disorder as diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

Study summary 

There is an increasing amount of investment, research and innovation around using digital technologies in novel ways to improve people's physical health.  However, the extent to which these digital or "mHealth" solutions are accessible, usable and beneficial for people with mental illness is under-researched.  Despite people with mental illness already experience drastic disparities in physical health, having a 2-3 fold risk of cardiovascular diseases and ~15 year reduced life expectancy compared to the general population.  Continued efforts towards developing digital health solutions for the general population, while neglecting the needs of those with mental illness, may only serve to increase the extent of these health disparities.

The heightened prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (and resultant premature mortality) associated with mental illness becomes most evident in older adult populations.  However, physical health risks begin from the onset of mental illness - which, for most people, begins before the age of 25.  Preventing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases from arising is more feasible and effective than reversing their long-term consequences.  Alongside this, younger people are the prime users of digital technologies, particularly with regards to smartphones.  Therefore, discovering how mHealth interventions can be applied to improve physical health and lifestyles in young people with mental illness could present a novel approach for reducing the health risks faced by this group.

However, there is currently a dearth of research in this area.  Thus, this survey study is designed to gain some initial insights into the mHealth approaches towards physical health promotion in youth mental health.  In particular, the research will examine if/how young people with mental illness currently use mHealth or 'apps' for physical health, what their preferred uses of such technologies would be, and their perspectives on ideal components / features of mHealth interventions for improving their lifestyle and wellbeing.

Study visits 

A screening questionnaire followed by a 20 minute online survey.

Services taking part

Trust-wide

Who to contact  

Jennifer Bingham (jennifer.bingham@shsc.nhs.uk

EDGI: Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative

Who this study is aimed at?

People age 16 and over who have eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Who can't take part?

People who don't have a current eating disorder.

Study summary 

Eating disorders are severe psychiatric illnesses and are associated with one of the highest mortality rates within mental health.  To improve understanding of the genetic and environmental risk factors behind eating disorders, researchers need to recruit thousands of participants.  This project is led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource Centre Maudsley (part of the NIHR BioResource), researchers at King's College London and Beat, the UK's eating disorder charity.  

Study visits 

Completion of a consent form, questionnaire taking 30-45 minutes to complete and providing a saliva sample; the kit for which will be sent to your home.

Services taking part

Eating Disorders

Who to contact  

Jennifer Bingham (jennifer.bingham@shsc.nhs.uk

I-RAP: Improving Recognition and understanding of Autism and Personality disorder

Who this study is aimed at?

Women age 18 and over who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition or self-identifying as autistic. 

Women aged 18 and over who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder.

This includes people who fit into both groups and people currently identifying as fully or partly female, and people assigned female gender at birth and now identifying differently.

Who can't take part?

People who have been diagnosed with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder or have moderate to severe learning difficulties.

Study summary 

Getting a diagnosis that feels right for you can be an important part of being able to understand yourself and your experiences.  But sometimes one diagnosis can look similar to another, and it can be difficult to tell them apart.  In particular, the similarities and differences in experiences of autistic people, and people who have difficulties associated with the diagnosis of 'personality disorder' can be confusing and are currently not clear.

Study visits 

Questionnaires taking approximately 20 minutes, talking through your answers with a researcher taking approximately 90 minutes and chatting about your experiences taking approximately 60 minutes.  

These can be done at intervals to suit you.  

Services taking part

Trust-wide

Who to contact  

Jade Cupac (jade.cupac@shsc.nhs.uk) and

Rose Bidewell (rose.bidewell@shsc.nhs.uk)

REMOTE DIALOG+: Exploring the views of psychosis populations on the remote delivery of DIALOG+ using workshop-focus groups and surveys

Who this study is aimed at?

People aged 18 or above who have a clinical diagnosis of psychosis and have used secondary mental health services in the last year.

Who can't take part?

People who are currently an inpatient on a psychiatric ward.

Study summary 

This research is part of the Remote DIALOG+ study in which researchers are developing a new software to deliver remote treatment to help service users with psychosis. DIALOG+ is a face-to-face treatment that involves using a tablet computer in regular treatment sessions between patients and their clinician.  Studies have found that it can enhance the communication between patient and their clinician so they can develop a plan that will improve outcomes together.  However, the face-to-face format means there are limitations for when it can be done or who can complete it e.g. during the COVID-19 pandemic or for people who live in remote rural areas.  

The aim of this survey is to better understand service users' current experiences of accessing remote care, resources, and their ability to use new technology.  Researchers are also interested to learn more about their former experiences of remote delivery of care.  It is hoped that this information may allow for a greater understanding of the experiences of people faced when using remote care.  This information will help to develop a prototype of the new software which will have service user experience at the heart of its design.

Study visits 

An online survey questionnaire taking approximately 10-20 minutes. 

These can be done at intervals to suit you.  

Services taking part

East Glade Centre

Northlands Community Health

Early Intervention, Limbrick Centre

Who to contact  

Rose Bidewell (rose.bidewell@shsc.nhs.uk)

OWLS Cohort: Optimising Wellbeing in Severe Mental Ill Health

Who this study is aimed at?

People aged 18 or above who have a recorded diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar and associated conditions.

Who can't take part?

People under age 18 or do not have any of the above diagnoses.

Study summary 

The purpose of this study is to follow adults in the UK who have a recorded diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar and associated conditions to collect information about health and to reduce health inequalities.

The study team would like to collect names and addresses of people who are willing to be part of the long term study so that they can contact people again about future research they may be interested in taking part in.

Study visits 

Online survey questionnaires every 6 months for 5 years.

These can be done at intervals to suit you.  

The study team will also invite some people to take part in a more in-depth interview.  People can still take part in the survey even if they do not wish to take part in an interview.

Services taking part

Trust-wide

Who to contact  

Abby Connelly (abby.connelly@shsc.nhs.uk)

FReSH START: Function REplacement in repeated Self-Harm: Standardising Therapeutic Assessment and the Related Therapy (WP4 - Randomised Controlled Trial)

Who this study is aimed at?

People aged 18 or over who have self-harmed a number of times and have recently approached services.

Who can't take part?

People who are receiving, or having been referred to a psychological intervention (and likely to receive this within the next 6 months), that is similar to this study, or where an intervention is for a related condition (eg anorexia nervosa).

People who have already taken part in the FReSH START feasibility study.

Study summary 

This study is looking at ways of improving therapies so they are better at supporting people who self-harm.

Study visits 

Meet a researcher who will ask about your health and your self-harm.  This meeting can be in-person, on the phone or via video call.  The meeting will take about 1 hour.  

You will then be asked to complete a set of 4 short questionnaires about your well-being, and one about money you may have spent related to self-harm.  These questionnaires are completed on-line, though the researchers can provide paper versions if required. Filling in the questionnaires will take around 1 hour of your time.

You will be able to nominate a close friend or relative whom the researchers can get in touch with in the event that they cannot contact you in future.  The researchers will send you an information sheet and consent form to pass on to your friend or relative; this is optional and can be done at a later date.  

If you are allocated to the intervention group you will need to attend up to 12 sessions of therapy with a trained therapist for up to 6 months.  These sessions will each take around 45 minutes.  The sessions will either take place at your local NHS Trust premises or via phone or video call.  The method used for these sessions will depend on your preference, the preference of the therapist as well as current guidance within your local NHS Trust.  If necessary there will be one or two optional telephone booster sessions as part of the trial.  Therapy sessions will be audio-recorded by the therapist, so the researchers can monitor therapist training and ensure quality of the therapy.

If you are allocated to the standard care group you will receive the care that your local NHS Trust normally provides to people who self-harm.  The researcher will be able to tell you more about what the standard care in your Trust involves.

You will need to respond to monthly secure text messages to let the researchers know how you are doing, and whether you have self-harmed in the last month. 

You will need to complete the same set of questionnaires you filled out at the start of the study, after 6 and 12 months.  

You will also need to complete a shorter questionnaire at 3 and 9 months about hospital attendances, appointments and contacts with other services.

The researcher may invite you to take part in an optional interview after 12 months so that you can tell them about the therapy you received.  

Services taking part

A&E Liaison

Decisions Unit

Who to contact  

Jennifer Bingham (jennifer.bingham@shsc.nhs.uk)

Charlotte Colbeck (charlotte.colbeck@shsc.nhs.uk)

Sponsored studies

MH-CREST (Mental-Health Crisis Realist Evidence SynThesis)

This blog from Helen Gilburt, Fellow in Health Policy at The King’s Fund, talks about this study.

MH-CREST is an NIHR funded study which seeks to understand how community crisis care services for people with mental health problems work, who they work for, and in what circumstances. It is led by a team based in The School of Healthcare at the University of Leeds and sponsored by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust. Read more here.

Who is the funder?

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit.

What is the grant award?

£345,310.

Who is involved?

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, University of Leeds and University of Sheffield.

Project start

September 2019.

Project end

October 2021. The results of this study are currently being written up.

 

Exploring the feasibility of implementing a home-based exercise training and compression hosiery intervention in patients with venous ulceration (FISCU II)

Who is the funder?

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit.

What is the grant award?

£290,390.

Who is involved?

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nottingham CityCare Partnership CIC.

Project start

July 2019.

Project end

August 2022.

Study summary

Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) affect almost 400,000 UK people over the age of 65. These are triggered by inadequate blood flow through the veins causing pain, mobility restrictions, devastation and social isolation. Each VLU costs up to £7.6K per year to the NHS while annual healthcare costs are up to £900 million.

Compression therapy (usually stockings or bandages) are often used to treat VLUs: although healing rates are good, ulcers often return.  Moreover, many remain open for up to 1 year, needing about 50 visits to heal. Consequently, supportive therapies to compression are needed to reduce healing times.

Exercise may provide an answer. We recently completed a small study, examining if it was possible to use a 12-week, community-based exercise programme, along with compression therapy, to treat VLUs. We showed that the programme was safe, participants enjoyed it and were attending their sessions, being also happy to complete their assessments.  The programme also offered reduced healing times and cost savings to the NHS of up to £875 per ulcer. Nevertheless, the programme didn't seem to be accessible for 40-50% of this group; these receive treatment at home and could otherwise do the exercises. Therefore, before embarking to a full-scale study to explore the clinical benefits and calculate the costs of a wider programme implementation, we need to design and explore the practicality of a home-based exercise programme, which would be offered to those who cannot travel. This is worth trying, as our findings indicate that 74% of house-bound people with VLUs would willingly try it.

Our 2-phase, Sheffield-based study will last 36 months. In phase 1, people with VLUs will help us design the home-based exercise programme via round-table discussions, interviews and a workshop. In phase 2, we will recruit 40 people with VLUs, who have treatment at home and although cannot travel, can do some flexibility, stretching and chair-aerobics exercises. Following assessments (measuring ulcer sizes, fitness, quality of life and associated costs among others), participants will be placed into one-of-two groups by a computer: one group will follow the phase 1-defined, home-based exercise programme and have standard at-home compression therapy; the other will receive compression therapy only. All participants will complete 3 home-based assessment sessions: initially at recruitment, then at the intervention end and finally 6 months after group allocation. We will also talk to 18 participants and 10 healthcare professionals, to hear about their intervention experience.

People with VLUs have helped us develop this grant application. They will also help us to: i) design the home-based programme, ii) best-manage the study and iii) interpret and publicise our findings. Upon completion, we will move to a full-scale study, which will provide a solution to this costly and devastating health problem.

Neurodegenerative disease (ND) is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which primarily affect the brain neurons. It includes dementias, Parkinson's disease, Prion and Motor neurone diseases, Huntington's disease, spinocerebellar ataxia and Spinal muscular atrophy.  

Almost 20% of those people who receive "at home" treatment for VLUs, live with NDs as well. Our experience suggests that people who live with early-stage NDs are either reluctant to participate or aren't referred to the study, despite the potential clinical benefits, because of their condition.  As we need to better understand and overcome the specific challenges faced by them in following the programme, we will specifically engage with 6-8 people with NDs and their carers to adapt it, in order to support them in being able to follow the programme to completion. People in this special sub-study, which will run in parallel to the main one, will conform to all study inclusion criteria and will help us adapt the programme and its delivery.  They will also follow a 1-month "crash-course" of the adapted programme and at the end will let us know what went well and what didn't. Once completed, this special sub-study will give us an idea as of how to approach and implement, our exercise programme to wider VLU clinical groups, looking after them in the best possible way.

Promoting Smoking Cessation and Preventing Relapse to tobacco use following a smoke free mental health inpatient stay: the SCEPTRE programme

Who is the funder?

NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research.

What is the grant award?

£2,719,459.

Who is involved?

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, University of York, Greymattaz, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, University of Nottingham, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and University College London.

Project start

January 2020.

Project end

January 2026.

Project summary

The proportion of people with mental illness who smoke tobacco is very high compared to the general population. It can reach figures over 70% among those with schizophrenia and in hospitalised patients with severe mental illness - compared to only around 15% in the general population. As people with mental illness are usually heavily addicted to tobacco, smoking causes large amounts of disease and deaths in this group, often from cardiovascular, respiratory illness and cancer. Smoking has been recognised as the single largest cause of health inequalities for people with mental illness. People with mental illness lose up to 20 years of life mainly to the consequences of their smoking. Although mental health patients often want to quit and can do so successfully, smoking is rarely addressed in mental health care. In many mental health settings in England, a historic 'smoking culture', accepting smoking as the norm, can still be found. However, guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that all mental health care settings become entirely smokefree, and that mental health patients should have access to evidence-based stop smoking treatment. At present mental health Trusts across England are in the process of implementing this guidance.

For many patients, receiving treatment in a smokefree inpatient environment will be a rare experience of abstaining from tobacco in their adult lives. However, no strategies to help maintain or achieve a smokefree lifestyle and avoid relapse after discharge exist. This means that in the vast majority of cases, patients will return to old smoking behaviours within days of discharge. Huge opportunities to promote health and save lives are being missed.

We propose to develop and test ways to support mental health inpatients after discharge in maintaining or achieving abstinence from tobacco smoking, building on existing evidence and new theory-based components. We will interview patients to explore their experiences and support needs relating to smoking that take into account the home and social environment. We will also explore mental health staff attitudes and training needs related to the subject. Complementing existing evidence with our new findings, we will design a multi-component intervention that is based on behaviour change theory and finalise it in workshops with staff and service user/carer representatives. We will then test the intervention package and refine it where necessary. We will conduct a randomised controlled trial, to see whether our intervention is more effective than current practice, and analyse whether our model represents value for money in the long term. If our findings are positive, we will develop a strategy for implementing the intervention in the NHS. An effective and cost-effective support model could help to save lives in this disadvantaged group.

Project website

www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/research/mental-health/projects/sceptre

Supporting Physical and Activity through Co-production in people with Severe mental illness (SPACES)

Who is the funder?

NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research.

What is the grant award?

£2,525,160.

Who is involved?

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, University of York, University of Leeds, Sheffield Hallam University, Northumbria University Newcastle, King's College London and University of Sheffield.

Project start

June 2021.

Project end

May 2027.

Project summary

The problem

People with severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often die 15-20 years earlier than those without, and this difference is getting bigger. Most of these early deaths are caused by preventable health problems such as heart and lung disease. One change that can help people to live longer is being more physically active. This can lower the risk of major illnesses; such as stroke and cancer by up to half. Leading health organisations have said that encouraging people to be more active is as important as encouraging stopping smoking. People with mental illness spend more time sitting still than people without mental health problems.

What we will do

We are a group of people with direct experience of mental ill health, working collaboratively with the Universities of York, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Leeds, Kings College London and Northumbria together with the NHS to lower this difference in life expectancy. This study will help us understand the challenges faced by people with mental illness in becoming more active. In this project we will develop and test ways to support people with mental illness to become more active. We will ask people what types of physical activity suit them best, and the difficulties they encounter in moving more. We will then use this to work with NHS staff, service users and carers to develop a physical activity programme to help people become more active and spend less time sitting still. We will test the programme and change it where necessary. Finally, we will conduct a fair test (called a randomised controlled study) between the new physical activity programme and what we have now. This will tell us whether the programme can benefit people who use the NHS.  We will also look at costs to see if the programme is good value for money. This will help people who decide priorities in the NHS to choose whether to invest in physical activity programmes.

Involving the public

People who use mental health services (and people who support them) have worked to develop this proposal, and they will work together throughout the SPACES programme. They will contribute to the running of the project and in designing an acceptable physical activity programme. Service users and carers will be involved in all stages of the project including communication of results to public, healthcare, research and physical activity staff.

Impact

The SPACES programme has the potential to help people with mental ill health to live longer, happier and more equal lives. This could also mean that the NHS does not have to treat long term physical problems, which increasingly consumes a large portion of the small amount of money that it is allocated.

Project website

www.spacesproject.co.uk

Completed study summaries

Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing Survey

People with severe mental ill health currently experience a bigger mortality gap compared to the general population, partially due to preventable physical health conditions linked to health risk behaviours such as smoking and lack of physical activity. This study aimed to benchmark health risk behaviours in people with severe mental ill health by inviting people with a diagnosis of severe mental ill health to take part in a short questionnaire about demographics, health risk behaviours and motivation to change those behaviours. It found that people with severe mental ill health are more likely to smoke than those in the general population and are at risk of not meeting the government guidelines regarding physical activity and fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. However, people are motivated to change these behaviours and it is therefore recommended that interventions are developed to help them do this.

If you wish to find out more information about the network behind this study, click here.

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