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26 May, 17 | by rkeynejad

7th April 2017 was World Health Day, and the start of a one-year global campaign by the World Health Organization about the leading cause of disability worldwide (1). The disease responsible? Depression, which now affects 300 million people globally, an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2015.

In the same month, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Heads Together campaign was launched, as an umbrella charity for mental health partner organisations including Best Beginnings, Mind and the Anna Freud Centre. A range of high-profile awareness-raising conversations included a podcast interview with Prince Harry discussing bereavement (2) and Prince William Face Timing Lady Gaga to discuss mental health stigma (3). These welcome efforts at normalising the most stigmatised aspect of health received deserved attention from President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), Professor Sir Simon Wessely. He wrote that “No, it’s not rocket science. No, it won’t eradicate all mental disorders and no, it won’t work for everyone. But it’s a good place to start” (4).

At a time when the public may be starting to overcome the stigma of talking about mental health and wellbeing, there is a pressing need for practitioners to do the same. Following a bitter junior doctor contract dispute (5), morale among NHS staff is low. Many clinicians turn to the ephemeral social media community for support, with groups like ‘Tea & Empathy’ attracting thousands of members, despite being public (6). This month, the Royal College of Nursing said its members are “exhausted, morale is low and it’s affecting the care they are able to provide”. Its unprecedented poll showed support for a ballot on strike action, following a 1% cap on nursing pay in the face of 2.3% inflation (7).

This month, the RCPsych Psychiatric Trainees Committee (PTC) published “Supported and valued”, a review of morale among its trainees (8). The findings of their national survey and 28 focus groups, like the insights of Lady Gaga, weren’t rocket science either. Asked what changes would improve their work life and training, trainees asked for access to phlebotomy, electrocardiography and pharmacy services in the hospitals where they work. They asked for ergonomic rotas issued with a minimum of 12 weeks’ notice, and provision of work and rest facilities, 24 hours per day, including hot food and drink. If the health service cannot meet the basic needs of its employees, how can they be expected to do their best for the vulnerable adults and children they serve?

The recent announcement of a UK general election in June, focused attention on these issues (9). The Mental Health Foundation’s mental health awareness week (10) came at the perfect time, focusing on why many people are “surviving” rather than “thriving”. Widespread discussion and recognition of mental health in the public domain can only be welcomed, as an opportunity to challenge stigma and encourage early help-seeking. At Evidence-Based Mental Health, we support these efforts by WHO, Heads Together, RCN, the PTC and Mental Health Foundation wholeheartedly. We all need #timetotalk (11).




(1) World Health Organization (2017). “Depression: let’s talk” says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(2) Bryony Gordon’s Mad World (2017). Mad World: Prince Harry. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(3) Heads Together (2017). The mental health marathon. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(4) Wessely S. (2017). Princes William and Harry break mental health taboos for a new generation. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(5) Keynejad R. (2015). Medicine’s social movement: #JuniorContract. The Lancet Psychiatry 2(12):1058-9.

(6) Royal College of Psychiatrists (2017). Supported and valued? A trainee-led review into morale and training within psychiatry. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(7) Facebook (2017). Tea & Empathy (PUBLIC GROUP). Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(8) The Independent (2017). Nurses vote on strike action after NHS pay cuts leave staff ‘struggling to make ends meet’. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(9) The BMA. This is more than a Brexit election. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

(10) Mental Health Foundation (2017). Mental Health Awareness Week. Accessed 09.05.17 at:

(11) Time to Change (2017). National Time to Talk Day. Accessed 23.04.17 at:

New Technologies and Digital Innovation in Mental Health Special Issue: Call For Papers For Evidence-Based Mental Health

3 Feb, 17 | by veronicaheney


In partnership with NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative and The Mental Elf

Guest Editors: Lisa Marzano, London; Chris Hollis, Nottingham; Gin Malhi, Sydney

Deadline for submissions: 15 June 2017
Publication date: November 2017


Special issue aims and scope

We are delighted to announce that Evidence-Based Mental Health will be publishing a special issue on new technologies and digital innovation in mental health. It will be guest edited by Lisa Marzano (London), Chris Hollis (Nottingham) and Gin Mahli (Sydney), in partnership with NIHR MindTech [] and the Mental Elf [].

With increasing interest and investment in digitally-enabled mental health research and clinical practice, this issue aims to bring together the latest research and thinking in this new and exciting field. Original articles, including quantitative or qualitative studies, clinical or systematic reviews, are welcome.

Potential topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • (Co)designing and implementing technological innovations in mental healthcare (including implementation and adoption studies in relation to ‘mhealth’, ‘e-health’, ‘digital mental health’, ‘apps’, and ‘internet interventions’)
  • The digital divide and capacity building in mental healthcare
  • Evaluating digital mental health interventions: methodological issues and approaches
  • User experience and mental health provider views about digital health innovations
  • Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of digital innovations in mental healthcare
  • Wearable sensors and remote monitoring technologies in mental health research and clinical practice
  • Online, messaging and app-based psychological interventions (including evidence of safety, acceptability, clinical and cost-effectiveness)
  • Virtual reality, avatar therapy and artificial intelligence in mental health and crisis care
  • Informatics, ‘big data’ and predictive analytics in mental health research (including research focusing on electronic records, algorithms and computerised clinical decision support tools)
  • Personalised and precision digital mental healthcare

A new collaboration: creating new impact and platforms of dissemination for new research

We are very excited about this upcoming special issue. It will showcase new research in this increasingly important field and will also bring together EBMH with NIHR MindTech and the Mental Elf. EBMH is a widely accessed and key resource for psychiatrists and psychologists aiming to base their practice on up-to-date research evidence; NIHR MindTech is a world-leading centre focussing on the development, adoption and evaluation of new technologies for mental healthcare and dementia; and the ever-expanding Mental Elf network now counts over 44,000 Twitter followers, 1 million unique visits in 2016 and over 180 blog contributors!


Image by by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino (CC BY-SA)

Further information

The Editors of this issue would be happy to discuss ideas for articles in advance of their receipt.  All manuscripts will be peer reviewed and up to 6 contributions will be published. Three of them will be free access (no charge for the authors and available to anyone).

Info on article types & instructions for authors: and

For any additional information, please contact Lisa Marzano (EBMH Section Editor, or submit directly to EBMH via ScholarOne, using the following address:

More information about Evidence-Based Mental Health is available on the journal’s homepage:

Bedlam, buildings, and treatment frameworks: the new Wellcome Collection exhibition reviewed

11 Oct, 16 | by veronicaheney


“Bedlam: the asylum and beyond” is the title of the new Wellcome Collection exhibition, which opened last month and will remain open Tuesday – Sunday until 15th January 2017. I was in London with a few hours to spare last week and I paid the show a visit; what I found there was compelling, intriguing, and left me with plenty of food for thought. Bedlam Exhibition

The exhibition is compact, no more than four or five rooms, but packed full of an extensive if eclectic variety of artefacts and artwork that seek to offer insight into what asylums have been, and what their successors might be like in the future. The exhibits range from photographs to building plans, from paintings to newspaper articles, and even embroidered letters to Queen Victoria. Part of the display is dedicated to extraordinary works of art created by patients while they were receiving treatment in an asylum or psychiatric hospital or after their discharge, ensuring that the narrative is not dominated by historicised or medicalised perspectives.

Together, the exhibits trace the progress of the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London (colloquially known as “Bedlam”), as it moved both geographically and ideologically, transforming from an 18th century ‘madhouse’ at Moorfields, to a 19th century ‘lunatic asylum’ at Southwark and finally to a 20th century ‘mental hospital’ at Beckenham. As the exhibition follows this chronological progression, it also regularly includes pictures and videos of the town of Geel in Flanders. In the 13th century, at the same time as Bethlem was originally founded in London, the town began attracting pilgrims seeking recourse from St Dymphna, the patron saint of the “mentally distracted”. People who were not cured during their trip often remained in the town, and many were taken in by local families, joining them in working on their farms. This practice has continued to the present day and by the early 20th century this family care system had become a popular alternative to the Belgian state asylums. The exhibition did not draw any direct comparisons between Geel and the Bethlem Royal Hospital, with regards to either the physical geography or the frameworks of care and treatment they have embodied, but their close proximity certainly invited consideration.

Indeed, while many of the individual pieces invite you to consider what it feels like to receive treatment in an asylum, the exhibition as a whole left me thinking more about what an asylum, any asylum, means for mental health treatment more broadly. Repeatedly we saw treatments shift as buildings transformed, and it was often difficult to tell whether scientific advances prompted re-designed spaces or whether newly created buildings allowed and encouraged new treatment approaches. Moreover, I was left wondering whether there is a fundamental difference between the sort of treatment that can be delivered in an institution like Bethlem and the sort of care that is given in a home, like those in Geel.

The exhibition concludes with an art installation entitled ‘Madlove’, which emerged from workshops run by artists Hannah Hull and The Vacuum Cleaner with 432 people with lived experience of mental distress. They collected and synthesised thousands of suggestions for a utopian mental health hospital, which were presented through Rosemary Cunningham’s illustrations and Benjamin Koslowski and James Christian’s model of a designer asylum; a place where it might be “truly safe to go mad”.

As I left the exhibition it seemed increasingly clear that the context of treatment, the physical site of care, surely has a greater impact on the range of therapies and medications which are offered or recommended to people experiencing mental ill-health than we might feel comfortable admitting. That mental health treatments are designed to be provided within a system, that they are often created with a specific setting in mind, is rarely discussed in the literature I’ve read. Yet the exhibition makes it obvious that context, whether it is systems, geography, or architecture, frames and limits how we treat mental health. A building curtails our options, making some approaches seem obvious and others appear outlandish. I cannot help but think that the treatment one might provide in a setting such as Madlove would require a completely different evidence base to the one upon which we base our current treatment options.


If you’re interested in finding out more about the intersection of the arts and mental health treatment, try this video from the editor of The Lancet Psychiatry.

Further information about the Wellcome Collection exhibition, “Bedlam: the asylum and beyond”, including opening hours and exhibition text, can be found on the Wellcome Collection website.

Google Hangout: Interventions to prevent self-harm: what does the evidence say?

24 May, 16 | by veronicaheney

EBMH_BMJ Interventions to prevent self-harm graphic - 2016-05-23

Join Evidence-Based Mental Health to discuss ‘Interventions to prevent self-harm’ on Friday 3rd June 2016 at 3pm GMT. There will be a panel of speakers live on Google Hangout discussing the topic and viewers can tweet the event and send in questions using #EBMHchat.


  • Keith Hawton (Oxford, UK)
  • Katrina Witt (Deakin, Australia)
  • Annette Erlangsen (Johns Hopkins, USA)
  • Rory O’Connor (Glasgow, UK)
  • Ellen Townsend (Nottingham, UK)
  • Andrea Cipriani (Oxford, UK)
  • Michael Ostacher (Stanford, USA)

The papers:

Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Hazell P, Townsend E, van Heeringen K. Pharmacological interventions for self-harm in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jul 6;7:CD011777. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011777.

Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Townsend E, van Heeringen K, Hazell P. Interventions for self-harm in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Dec 21;12:CD012013. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012013.

Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Hazell P, Townsend E, van Heeringen K. Psychosocial interventions for self-harm in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 May 12;5:CD012189. [Epub ahead of print]

New EBMH Digital Communication Assistants

3 May, 16 | by Kelly Horwood, BMJ


Meet the new EBMH Digital Communication Assistants…


Who are you?
I’m Veronica Heney. I graduated two years ago from the University of Oxford with a BA in History and English. I loved my degree, particularly the opportunity to explore topics and texts from an interdisciplinary perspective. I work as Communications Assistant for SAPPHIRE (Social science APPlied to Healthcare Improvement REsearch) at the University of Leicester. In my role I produce reports, academic publications, web content, presentations, and press releases for academic and non-academic audiences and run SAPPHIRE’s social media accounts.

I think that we often don’t understand mental health conditions very well. This is partly because they’ve historically been understudied, but it’s also because of persistent stigma associated with mental health problems. This means that we often don’t talk about mental health openly, accurately, or sensitively. I think that it’s important that this changes. Dealing with a mental health condition is difficult enough without feeling isolated or contending with stereotypes and prejudice.  Part of achieving that change is research and the way we talk about that research, and I think the work of EBMH can really make a difference. I’m also interested in the connection between mental health conditions and social inequalities. We need more research, more nuanced conversations, and we need to listen, carefully and empathically, to the people for whom the combination of ill-health and social inequality is a daily reality. Being involved with EBMH is now a wonderful opportunity to contribute to much-needed change.

What aspects of the role are you looking forward to?
Well, I can definitely say that I am not looking forward to dealing with the inevitable technical difficulties generated by Google Hangouts! But more seriously, I’m really excited about all the new things I’m going to learn about mental health conditions and treatment and I think it’s going to be great to work with some of the wonderful people doing this important research. I also think that one of the aspects of the role that is likely to be both challenging and rewarding is running the blog – we’re keen to publish more content on it, and to present a range of perspectives from clinicians to patients to academics. If you have an idea for a blog topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want to make EBMH as interactive as possible, and that means creating the content that you want and need. We look forward to hearing your ideas!


RWho are you?
I’m Roxanne Keynejad. I’m a CT2 Academic Clinical Fellow in General Adult Psychiatry at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I studied graduate-entry Medicine at King’s College London after an undergraduate degree in Psychology with Philosophy at the University of Oxford. I am mental health co-lead for King’s Somaliland Partnership and help to run Twitter feeds for local junior doctors (@MaudsleyDocs) and a medical student teaching course (@ExtremePsych). I am interested in e-learning and the power of digital technology to transform health education.

As an Academic Clinical Fellow in the early stages of my research career, I was attracted to this opportunity to actively communicate research findings in accessible and engaging formats, since EBMH is at the forefront of growing educational, training and academic possibilities through the power of social media. EBMH’s aims resonate with me as the collaboration between BMJ, RCPsych and BPS represents a synthesis of disciplines which interact on a daily basis but do not always communicate as well as they might. The journal’s practical ethos, advocating best practice in our daily clinical work meets a real need for busy clinical staff. Through ever-expanding technology, I want to help to extend EBMH’s reach to students, clinicians and academics in low and middle income countries as well as in high income nations. I hope to develop resources and learning experiences which benefit junior trainees approaching examinations as well as more senior readers seeking continuing professional development.

What aspects of the role are you looking forward to?
Like Veronica, I anticipate a few technological teething problems, but am still excited by the ability of Google Hangouts to bring EBMH’s content to life. The potential to interact directly with article authors online and engage in personal discussion and debate is a great opportunity. Spending a not inconsiderable percentage of my time commuting, I really believe in podcasts as a means of communicating research and, inspired by other excellent BMJ podcasts, hope to develop these. Video projects are another avenue, alongside enhancing the blog and using Twitter to draw your attention to key publications and events. A downside of social media is feeling overwhelmed by information. Our goal is to make EBMH your one-stop resource for all the content you need to practise evidence-based mental healthcare.

Evidence-Based Mental Health seeks volunteer Digital Communications Editor

8 Feb, 16 | by Holly Millward, Associate Editor


Good at social media? Supporter of Evidence-Based Mental Health? We need you!

Evidence-Based Mental Health (EBMH) is a BMJ journal that is aimed at aims to engage psychiatrists and psychologists, particularly younger professionals, in the challenge of basing their practice on evidence.

Published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society and BMJ, the journal surveys a wide range of international medical journals, applying strict criteria for the quality and validity of research. Clinicians assess the relevance of the best studies and the key details of these essential articles are presented in a succinct, informative expert commentary on their clinical application. Evidence-Based Mental Health also publishes Editorials, Perspectives, Reviews and Original Content. You can find out more about the journal’s aims, here.

We are looking for a volunteer to work approximately an hour a week as Digital Communications Editor for the journal. You will have experience with sharing content on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels, with a good understanding of evidence-based practice and mental health care.

Evidence-Based Mental Health has an active Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and blog accounts that aim to engage psychiatrists and psychologists in the latest evidence. The journal broadcasts monthly expert Google Hangouts and tweet chats on the latest research. The Hangouts would also be a project that the Digital Communications Editor supports through advertising, providing technology support for speakers and running the live tweet chat during the hangout. You can find all our previous Hangouts on our YouTube channel, here.

If you think the next Digital Communications Editor could be you, email explaining why you are interested in the position and documenting any relevant experience.

The role:

  • Advertise journal content on social media
  • Increase the journal’s social media following
  • Advertise, blog and support the monthly Google Hangouts & tweet chats
  • Communicate regularly with the journal’s Editor and Digital Content Editor
  • Attend yearly journal editorial board meeting


4th March 2016

The EBMH team looks forward to hearing from you!

Google Hangout: Bullying victimisation and risk of psychotic phenomena

10 Dec, 15 | by Holly Millward, Associate Editor

Twitter ad - bullying

Join Evidence-Based Mental Health to discuss ‘Bullying victimisation and risk of psychotic phenomena’ on Friday 18th December 2015 at 3pm GMT. There will be a panel of speakers live on Google Hangout discussing the topic and viewers can tweet the event and send in questions using #EBMHchat. more…

Google Hangout: Ketamine in bipolar disorder

13 Nov, 15 | by Holly Millward, Associate Editor

Twitter ad - ketamine in bipolar disorders

Join Evidence-Based Mental Health to discuss ‘Ketamine in bipolar disorder‘ on Friday 20th November 2015 at 3pm GMT. There will be a panel of speakers live on Google Hangout discussing the topic and viewers can tweet the event and send in questions using #EBMHchat. more…

Google Hangout: Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

1 Oct, 15 | by Holly Millward, Associate Editor

Twitter ad - mindfulness

Join Evidence-Based Mental Health to discuss ‘Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy‘ on Friday 23rd October 2015 at 3pm BST. There will be a panel of speakers live on Google Hangout discussing the topic and viewers can tweet the event and send in questions using #EBMHchat. more…

Google Hangout: Ketamine on mood disorders

24 Sep, 15 | by Holly Millward, Associate Editor

Twitter ad - ketamine in mood disorders more…

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