Mental Health

Departmental research includes innovative work in the field of mental health, with a strong focus on lived experience. This includes work on whole family approaches, recovery, personalisation, community development, social perspectives, and partnership working in health and social care. There is a particular interest in the use of creative and arts-based approaches to research such as the Survivor Arts project.

The Department is part of the Institute for Mental Health (IMH), which seeks 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. IMH brings together multidisciplinary researchers from across the University of Birmingham, including the College of Social Sciences and the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, to help understand the psychological, biological, anthropological, sociocultural and socio-economic factors that shape individual and population mental health. 


2017-20: Open Dialogue – Development and Evaluation of a Social Network Intervention for Severe Mental Illness (ODDESSI). National Institute of Health Research Programme Grant (£2.1m).

2013-16: Mutual Recovery for Mental Health and Well-Being through Creative Practice. Arts and Humanities Research Council,  Connected Communities Programme.  

2013-14: Personal budgets, direct payments and self-directed support for people with severe mental health problems. National Institute of Health Research (Programme Development Grant £97K).

2013-14: Clinical Research Group on Mental Wellbeing, Public Mental Health and Recovery.  National Institute of Health Research - Mental Health Research and Recovery, with University of Warwick (£5K).

2011-14: Can whole family approaches contribute to the reablement of people with mental health difficulties? National Institute of Health Research – School for Social Care Research (£170K).  

2008-14: REFOCUS: Developing a recovery focus in mental health services in England. National Institute of Health Research - Programme Grant.

PEOPLE Study. Personalisation for severe mental illness: impact on individuals and organisations. Big Lottery, £330K (2010-14).



Professor Barbara Fawcett

Honorary Professor

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Barbara is an Honorary Professor in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. She carries out research in the areas of adults, communities, mental health, older people and disability. She also focuses on participatory action research and forms of analysis drawn from postmodern feminism.

+44(0)121 414 5730

Dr Denise Tanner

Dr Denise Tanner

Associate Professor of Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Denise Tanner is Associate Professor (Social Work). She teaches on BA and MA Social Work courses.  Her areas of teaching and research interest include adult social work/social care policy and practice; social work with older people; social work skills; social perspectives of mental distress; and service user involvement in education and research.

+44(0)121 414 2941

Professor Jerry Tew

Professor Jerry Tew

Professor of Mental Health and Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Jerry is currently leading national research for the Department of Health Policy Research Programme to explore how Local Authorities (and their partners) are responding to the challenge, embedded in the Care Act, to build capacity so as to ‘prevent, reduce or delay’ the need for social care services. He is also co-investigator in the ODESSI trial led by Prof Stephen Pilling at ...

+44(0)121 414 3640


Tew, J (2017) A crisis of meaning:  can ‘schizophrenia’ survive in the twenty first century? Medical Humanities 43:111-117.

Lewis, L, Spandler, H, Tew, J and Ecclestone, K (2016), Mutuality, wellbeing and mental health recovery: Exploring creative arts adult community learning and participatory arts initiatives. Final Research Report.  AHRC

Morriss, L. (2016). Being seconded to a Mental Health Trust: the (in)visibility of mental health social work. British Journal of Social Work, 47(5): 1344-1360. DOI:10.1093/bjsw/bcw022

Tew, J, Nicholls, V, Plumridge, G and Clarke, H (2016) Family-inclusive approaches to reablement in mental health: models, mechanisms and outcomes British Journal of Social Work DOI:10.1093/bjsw/bcw106

Glasby J and Tew, J (2015) Mental Health Policy and Practice.  Palgrave  Macmillan

Hamilton, S, Tew, J, Szymczynska, P  et al (2015) Power, choice and control: how do personal budgets affect the experiences of people with mental health problems and their relationships with social workers and other practitioners?  British Journal of Social Work DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcv023

Larsen, J, Tew, J Hamilton, S et al (2015) Outcomes from personal budgets in mental health: service users’ experiences in 3 English local authorities.  Journal of Mental Health DOI:10.3109/09638237.2015.1036971

Morriss, L. (2015). AMHP work: Dirty or prestigious? Dirty work designations and the approved mental health professional. British Journal of Social Work, 46(3), 703-718. DOI:10.1093/bjsw/bcv009

Tew J (2015) Towards a socially situated model of mental distress   In H Spandler, J Anderson and B Sapey (eds) Madness, distress and the politics of disablement.  Policy Press

Tew, J, Larsen, J, Hamilton, S et al (2015) ‘And the stuff that I'm able to achieve now is really amazing’: the potential of personal budgets as a mechanism for supporting recovery in mental health. British Journal of Social Work 45 S1 i79-i97

Tew, J, Plumridge, G, Nicholls, V and Clarke, H (2015) Can whole family approaches contribute to the reablement of people with mental health difficulties?  School for Social Care Research

Bird, V, Leamy, M,  Tew, J et al (2014) Fit for purpose? Validation of a conceptual framework for personal recovery with current mental health consumers. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 10:48(7) 644-653. DOI: 10.1177/0004867413520046

Salkeld, R, Wagstaff, C and Tew, J (2013) Towards a new way of relating: delivering recovery training jointly to staff and service users.  Journal of Mental Health 22(2), 165-173

Tew, J (2013) Recovery capital: what enables a sustainable recovery from mental health difficulties?  European Journal of Social Work 16:3 360-74

Wagstaff, C, Rose, J, Tew, J, Cooner, T.S. and Greening, J (2013), Qualitative evaluation of learning between different professional groups. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice. 8(4) pp 219-228.

Fawcett, B., Nicholson, S. and Weber Z. (2012) International Perspectives on Mental Health: Critical Issues Across the Lifespan, Basingstoke, Palgrave 

Tew, J, et al (2012)  Social factors and recovery from mental health difficulties: a review of the evidence.  British Journal of Social Work 42:3 443-460

Cooner, T.S. (2011), User/Carer Involvement in Education: Why you should use Web 2.0 technologies. Burning Issues in Learning and Teaching about Mental Health. London: Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre. Available from

Fawcett, B. (2011) ‘Contemporary Issues in Mental Health’, for M.Gray and S.Webb Sage Handbook of Social Work, London and New York, Sage

Tew, J (2011) Social approaches to mental distress.  Palgrave Macmillan

Tew, J, Holley, T and Caplen, P (2011) Dialogue and challenge: involving service users and carers in small group learning with social work and nursing students.  Social Work Education DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2011.557429

Cooner, T.S. (2010), Designing for enquiry: using Web 2.0 to enable mental health service user and carer involvement. In Bromage, A., Clouder, L and Gordon, F. (eds), Inter-professional e-learning and Collaborative Work: Practices and Technologies.  Hershey; USA: IGI Global.

Clouder, L and Gordon, F. (eds), (2010) Inter-professional e-learning and Collaborative Work: Practices and Technologies.  Hershey; USA: IGI Global. 

Tew, J (2008) Researching in partnership: reflecting on a collaborative study with mental health service users into the longer term impact of compulsory admission to psychiatric hospital.  Qualitative Social Work 7:3 271-88

Tew, J, Gould, N, Abankwa, D, et al (2006)  Values and Methodologies For Social Research in Mental Health.  Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Fawcett, B. and Karban, K. (2005) ‘Contemporary Theory, Policy and Practice in Mental Health’, London, Routledge  

Tew, J (ed) (2005)  Social perspectives in mental health: developing social models to understand and work with mental distress.  Jessica Kingsley.

Winner of the 2017 BASW Kay McDougall Prize -


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