Making care better

One of the aims of Our 2020 Vision is is to make sure earning from research is used consistently and systematically to improve quality.

We are now the most active mental health research organisation in the south of England  and more than 9000 participants have taken part in high quality research studies. Indeed during 2015/16 we were the highest recruiting mental health trust in England . We have generated over £9 million in income and have more than 600 papers affiliated to us in peer-reviewed journals. We have strong academic partnerships and our reputation for clinical excellence is attracting leading clinical practitioners and researchers to Sussex.

We attribute this success to our patients who take part, to staff in our team and to other clinicians in the Trust, by paying attention to all aspects of the research process, from design of new studies, to delivery of existing research and to the translation of findings into practice.

Design: Being involved in research is more than simply taking part in a study. We aim to include the expertise of people with ‘lived experience’ in each stage of the research process, from study design through to delivery and translation into frontline care. We collaborate with academic partners and our Lived Experience Advisory Forum (LEAF) to ensure that our research activity is developed locally to address issues of great concern to the people that use our services. Examples include, our Centre for Dementia Studies with its programme of research and education to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and our programme of research in Youth Mental Health, based on the belief that intervening early will lead to better outcomes.

Delivery:  Our research ‘opt-out’ enables us to offer research opportunities to more people using our services in order that they are routinely offered opportunities to take part in studies. Our research portfolio covers a range of areas including: OCD, distressing voices, dementia, links between physical health and mental health, preventing long-term social problems in young people and health interventions for people who gain weight from taking medication. We Further involvement in research continues to be provided by our ground-breaking Research Network - this is a community of staff, patients, carers - in fact anyone who is interested in mental health research. Members of our Research Network are kept up-to-date about research within the Trust, including seminars, regular updates and our annual Research Magazine.

Translation: Our research activity has played a significant role in improving the quality of services we offer to vulnerable people in public places (Street Triage), young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis (Early Intervention in Psychosis Services), people in crisis (Crisis Resolution Teams), people distressed by hearing voices (Sussex Voices Clinic) and people experiencing OCD (The OCD Clinic).

As a founding member of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network, it is our task to drive innovation and improvement by translating research into clinical practice. To achieve an even closer relationship between research, teaching and clinical innovation we are developing Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs). These have areas of speciality such as psychosis, mood and anxiety, dementia, or complex care that will enable our clinicians to contribute further to the design and delivery of research and education. These groups create a mutually beneficial environment where research informs clinical care and clinical evidence feeds back into further research. CAGs can also link to specialist centres of innovation, such as the Sussex Mindfulness Centre and the Centre for Dementia Studies. The Sussex Mindfulness Centre and the Centre for Dementia Studies are examples of how we have structured our services to ensure that the learnings from our research are translated into real changes in how we help the people in our care. 

Click here to find out more about our current themes of research and to contact our Research Team.