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Mental Health


Mental health is an important research and teaching theme at The Open University. In terms of teaching The Open University offers a range of modules and qualifications designed to lift the lid on this complex, fast moving and sometimes controversial area. Undergraduate students can study particular modules, such as “Mental Health and Community” (K240) which explores many aspects of supporting people with mental health problems in the community and “Approaches to Mental Health” (K314) which explores the various approaches to supporting mental wellbeing.  Students can also study mental health-related topics at post-graduate level, and this includes undertaking doctoral projects in the field.

Current research covers a range of mental health topics including: dementia; diabetes and depression; computerised therapies; adolescent mental health; suicide; and mental health workforce challenges.

The Mental Health group held an inaugural Open University-wide sandpit event in 2016 to help build research networks and capacity across the university. From this, the group has developed several projects, on both individual and collaborative levels, to pursue the research topics outlined below:

For more information about the Mental Health Research Group please email mathijs.lucassen@open.ac.uk

Group Members


Dr Geraldine Boyle undertakes research into living with dementia, cognitive disability more generally and mental capacity. Her work particularly focuses on the perspectives of those living with conditions such as dementia, but also the views and experiences of carers, families and professionals.
Professor Cathy Lloyd’s work focuses on the overlaps between physical health challenges, particularly diabetes, and mental health issues, such as depression.
Dr Mathijs Lucassen is particularly interested in the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people, as well as creating and evaluating e-therapies, and developing the mental health workforce.
Dr Sharon Mallon’s research focuses on projects related to suicide postvention and prevention.
Sarah Vicary’ research explores the impact of professional identity on role fulfilment in statutory and integrated mental health services, both current and historical.
Dr Jitka Vseteckova’s research includes dementia-related projects, and studies to do with recovery-focused care planning and coordination in England and Wales, which have demonstrated the importance of working with service users and providers.

Additional mental health researchers in the faculty include:

If you are interested in being a part of the Mental Health Special Interest Group please email mathijs.lucassen@open.ac.uk where further details will be provided.

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