Justice, Equalities and Capabilities

Young people’s voices are sometimes unheard. We’re finding effective strategies to help empower young people and achieve greater social justice in providing access to mental health treatment and support.

Young people are not always offered the resources that they need in order to understand their current situations and process their own experiences; in particular experiences of distress. This is made more challenging when their mental distress is linked to other sources of exclusion or vulnerability such as gender and ethnicity, LGBTQ issues, migrant or refugee status, homelessness, poverty and young motherhood. The aim of our research is to find effective strategies to help empower young people, giving them a voice and enabling them to achieve greater epistemic and social justice.

Please contact the Justice, Equalities and Capabilities Research Theme Lead for more information:
IMH Research Theme Lead - Prof Liz McDermott
MH Research Co-Lead - tbc

Our current research:


Key people: Professor Lisa Bortolotti

This ERC funded study explores whether delusional beliefs, distorted memories, and confabulatory explanations - which are frequent in the non-clinical population and also listed as symptoms of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and dementia - have redeeming features? The project aims addresses the misconceptions and prejudices associated with mental health problems with a focus on psychosis and depression. 

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Our recent work

Costs and Benefits of Optimism 

Key people: Professor Lisa BortolottiThe goal of this Philosophy of Hope and Optimism funded study was to explore whether it is beneficial or detrimental to be optimistic. Whilst empirical literature suggests that some forms of optimism can be good for us, helping us to achieve our goals and react positively to setbacks, other forms of optimism lead to disappointment or to excessively risky behaviour. This project aimed to develop a new framework in which these findings can be interpreted. 

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Our PhD research 

The Adaptiveness of Delusions

Schizophrenia and Suicide

PhD student: Markella Grigoriou

Supervisors: Professor Lisa BortolottiProfessor Rachel Upthegrove


PhD student: Valeria Motta

Supervisors: Professor Lisa BortolottiDr Anneli Jefferson, Dr Michael Larkin

Mood disorders and decision making

Phenomenology and self narratives

PhD student: Joseph Houlders

Supervisors: Professor Lisa BortolottiProfessor Matthew Broome,

Capgras delusions

PhD student: Federico Bongiorno


Supervisors: Professor Lisa Bortolotti Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett