Dr Sarah-Jane Hannah Fenton BSc(Hons); PGCert; PGCert ; MPhil; PhD

Dr Sarah-Jane Hannah Fenton

School of Social Policy
Lecturer in Mental Health Policy

Contact details

School of Social Policy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton is a Lecturer in Mental Health Policy at the Institute for Mental Health (IMH).

The IMH is an interdisciplinary research centre with a specific youth mental health focus that will deliver high quality internationally relevant research to inform and impact upon public policy and practice and improve the care and outcomes for people experiencing problems with their mental health.

Sarah-Jane has particular expertise in youth, adolescence, mental health, health policy, realist and qualitative research.


  • 2017 Awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • 2012 – 2016 PhD, University of Birmingham (awarded December 2016) & University of Melbourne (awarded August 2017)
  • 2015 PGCert Advanced Research Methods and Skills, University of Birmingham (Excellent)
  • 2009-2011 PGCert, Psychodynamic Approaches to Working with Adolescents, Tavistock & Portman Clinic (Distinction)
  • 2005-2007 MPhil, Comparative Social Policy, University of Oxford
  • 2001-2004 BSc (Hons), Geography, University of Exeter (1st)


Sarah-Jane completed her Doctoral Research in 2016, graduating with a dual award degree from the University of Birmingham (2016) and the University of Melbourne (2017). This research explored mental health policy and service delivery for adolescents and young people aged 16-25 years of age. It was a comparative study exploring policy and systems in the UK with those in Australia; and delivery of services to people experiencing mental ill health aged between 16-25 years old. Most recently Sarah-Jane has been working on an NIHR funded study evaluating the use of patient experience data to improve the quality of inpatient mental health care (EURIPIDES).


Sarah-Jane is the Post-Graduate Taught Lead for the Masters in Mental Health (MSc) and co-leads a Module on the Sociology of Mental Health and Illness within that programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Sarah-Jane is interested in supervising PhD work related to youth mental health; mental health policy and practice; qualitative research involving realist methodologies; and research into health and social care involving young people.

Doctoral research


Research interests

Youth; mental health; mental health policy and service delivery; realist methodology; international social policy; and comparative research.

Research projects

2016 –2018 Research Fellow – Evaluating the Use of Patient Experience Data to Improve the Quality of Inpatient Mental Health Care (EURIPIDES) study, University of Warwick Medical School

2015 –2016 Research Fellow – Family Potential Research Centre for Policy and Practice Research – working on an ESRC Knowledge Exchange project looking at family inclusive policy and practice, University of Birmingham

2014 Research Assistant – Health Exchange project ‘Workplace wellbeing programmes and their impact on employees and their employing organisations: evidence from firms’ – University of Birmingham

2014 Research Assistant – 21st Century Public Servant research – Melbourne School of Government – University of Melbourne

2014 Research Assistant – Faculty of Arts Finance Office – ARC budget centre – University of Melbourne

2013 – 2014 Research Assistant – ARC Discovery project - Melbourne School of Government – University of Melbourne

2013 Research Assistant – Community Organising – University of Birmingham

2012 Research Assistant – Birmingham Policy Commission into Ageing Well in the 21st Century – University of Birmingham


Recent publications


Members of the Institute for Mental Health Youth Advisory Group 2023, 'Urban precarity and youth mental health: an interpretive scoping review of emerging approaches', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 320, 115619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115619

Shrom, S, Fenton, S-J & Cumming, J 2022, 'Lifestyle challenges and mental health of professional tennis players: an exploratory case study', International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2022.2099947

Wood, E, Ohlsen, S, Fenton, S-J, Connell, J & Weich, S 2021, 'Social Prescribing for people with complex needs: a realist evaluation', BMC Family Practice, vol. 22, no. 1, 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-021-01407-x

Weich, S, Fenton, S-J, Staniszewska, S, Canaway, A, Crepaz-Keay, D, Larkin, M, Madan, J, Mockford, C, Bhui, K, Newton, E, Croft, C, Foye, U, Cairns, A, Ormerod, E, Jeffreys, S & Griffiths, F 2020, 'Using patient experience data to support improvements in inpatient mental health care: the EURIPIDES multimethod study', Health Services and Delivery Research, vol. 8, no. 21, 08210. https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr08210

Fenton, S-J & Newton, E 2019, 'Experiences of in-patient mental health services: systematic review', British Journal of Psychiatry , vol. 214, no. 6, pp. 329-338. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.22Pu

Duncan, C, Weich, S, Moon, G, Twigg, L, Fenton, S-J, Bhui, K, Canaway, A, Crepaz-Keay, D, Madan, J, Parsons, H & Singh, S 2019, 'Moving beyond randomised controlled trials in the evaluation of compulsory community treatment: Beyond trials in community treatment evaluation ', Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13245

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Glasby, J, Tew, J & Fenton, S-J 2021, UK mental health policy and practice. in G Ikkos & N Bouras (eds), Mind, State and Society: Social History of Psychiatry and Mental Health in Britain 1960–2010. Cambridge University Press, pp. 93-102. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781911623793.012


Fenton, S-J & Carr, S 2019, Valuing youth involvement in mental health service design and delivery. in L Theodosiou, S Bailey, P Knightsmith & P Lavis (eds), Children and Young People’s Mental Health: Early Intervention, Ongoing Support and Flexible Evidence Based Care. Pavilion.

Book/Film/Article review

Fenton, S-J 2019, 'The moral heart of public service, Edited by Claire Foster-Gilbert, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017. ISBN: 9781785922558; £18.99 (Hbk).', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 53, no. 5, pp. 810-811. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12514

Commissioned report

Ellins, J, Singh, K, Al-Haboubi, M, Newbould, J, Hocking, L, Bousfield, J, McKenna, G, Fenton, S-J & Mays, N 2021, Early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme: Interim report. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/college-social-sciences/social-policy/brace/trailblazer.pdf>

Digital or Visual Products

Fenton, S-J, Evaluating the use of patient experience data to improve the quality of inpatient mental health care (Euripides) Impact video, 2019, Digital or Visual Products. <https://youtu.be/eF73Ttedb98>

Other contribution

Fenton, S-J & Carmichael, F 2019, What can employers do to address social wellbeing?. Centaur Human Resources Limited. <https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/sarah-jane-fenton-social-wellbeing/>

Review article

Lee, R, Leighton, SP, Thomas, L, Gkoutos, G, Wood, S, Fenton, S-J, Deligianni, F, Cavanagh, J & Mallikarjun, P 2022, 'Prediction models in first episode psychosis: a systematic review and critical appraisal', British Journal of Psychiatry , vol. 220, no. 4, pp. 179-191. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2021.219

Winsper, C, Crawford-Docherty, A, Weich, S, Fenton, S-J & Singh, S 2020, 'How do recovery-oriented interventions contribute to personal mental health recovery? A systematic review and logic model', Clinical Psychology Review, vol. 76, 101815, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2020.101815

Staniszewska, S, Mockford, C, Chadburn, G, Fenton, S-J, Bhui, K, Larkin, M, Newton, E, Crepaz-Keay, D, Griffiths, FE & Weich, S 2019, 'Experiences of inpatient mental health services: systematic review', British Journal of Psychiatry , vol. 214, no. 6, pp. 329-338. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.22

View all publications in research portal

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities