The Birmingham Institute for Mental Health (IMH) has been created to improve the care and outcomes of those suffering from problems in their mental health, and to ensure a sustained impact on public policy and practice. 

Mental health

The Institute will take a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together researchers from across the University of Birmingham, including from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and the College of Social Sciences, to help understand the psychological, biological, anthropological, sociocultural and socio-economic factors that shape individual and population mental health. 

With a focus on youth mental health, the IMH will help transform NHS services from an evidence base of the highest quality research. 

Approximately 75% of lifetime mental disorders begin before the age of 24 years. Prevalence of mental disorder in adolescents and young adults has increased in recent decades and is likely to continue to do so. Developing early intervention strategies in youth services has become even more important: helping people when they are young may prevent serious life-long conditions developing, as well as improving prognosis. 

The College will bring to the new Institute a strong track record of research and developmental activity in the field of mental health policy and practice – both nationally and regionally focusing primarily on the following areas: 

  • Family and social network based approaches to care and treatment
  • The role of the Third Sector in providing alternative crisis care
  • Improving the efficiency and quality of current health care provision
  • Preventative or capacity building approaches delivered via local authority social care 

Professor of Mental Health and Social Work from the University of Birmingham, Jerry Tew said, 

“We are delighted to be playing a pivotal role in the new Institute of Mental Health. Our portfolio of research is broad and, as social scientists, we are concerned with the psychosocial aspects of mental distress and wellbeing, and the development of effective service and policy responses that take account of these. The Institute will allow us to work closer with colleagues, funders and policy makers to help close the gap on mental health treatment and provision.” 

The Mental Health Policy Commission, chaired by Rt Hon Prof Paul Burstow, was launched earlier this year and examines how to achieve a fundamental shift in investment to make the best use of evidence-based approaches to mental health promotion and illness prevention.  

Alongside this, we provided the evidence review which underpinned the work of the West Midlands Mental Health Commission and the subsequent roll-out of the West Midlands Thrive initiative which aims to drive better mental health and wellbeing in the West Midlands. 

In conjunction with NHS England, the Health Services Management Centre has been developing a leadership network for GP mental health leads in Clinical Commissioning Groups. 

Professor Matthew Broome, Director of the Birmingham Institute for Mental Health, said:

“The Institute is poised to use this wealth of resource locally together with its existing and recognised expertise within cognitive neuroscience, psychology, social policy, philosophy, ethics, education, health economics and medicine to inform policy and practice which will make a step change in the mental health of our young people and society.”

“The IMH will maximise the collaborative efforts of academics at the University of Birmingham and build on strong existing partnerships with practice in the NHS, established through the Birmingham Health Partners.”

Find out more about the Institute for Mental Health