Date Published: 4 October 2005

Mental Health Research Network launched

Health News from Bristol, England (UK).

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A new UK-wide network has been established to facilitate research into mental health problems and improve collaboration between researchers and NHS partners. The 'West Hub' of the Network is a partnership between a number of Universities and NHS Trusts within Avon, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall.

The main purpose of the UK Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) is to provide the infrastructure necessary to support large-scale, high-quality research into mental health and social care. It is hoped that this will help to release academic researchers from some of the burdens of administration, enabling them to devote more time and attention to research.

This network is an exciting opportunity for the Trusts and Universities involved. It will make a real contribution to improving collaboration between academic and NHS partners to improve research into the area of mental health, which in turn will improve mental health services provided.

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, together with the Universities of Bristol, Bath and the University of the West of England form the northern part of West Hub. The southern part of the West Hub is in Devon and Cornwall which includes the Peninsula Medical School (a collaboration between the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth), Devon Partnership NHS Trust, and Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust. The Mental Health and Primary Care partnership in Southampton is also a linked clinical site to West Hub.

Based at Bristol University, the West Hub will be hosting two events to mark its launch and to raise awareness of the Hub and the MHRN in the South West.

The "Southern" Launch is to be held on Thursday 6th October at Crossmead conference centre in Exeter. Dr Peter Aitken, R&D Director of the Devon Partnership Trust said: "The MHRN is key to delivering our commitment to mental health service users and research partners in the South West. It will enable us to deliver high quality evidence-based care by maximising participation in research."

The "Northern" Launch is to be held at Greenways Training and Conference Centre in Chippenham on Monday 10th October (which is also World Mental Health Day). Dr Tony Soteriou, Director of Research at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, said:

" This network is very prestigious and important for us and our partners. The research will make a real contribution to delivering the very best evidence-based services to mental health service users and carers both locally and across the country. The research network will also add significantly to the Trust's, already major, portfolio of mental health research and development."

Each day will include presentations from key people involved in Westhub and the MHRN, and will provide a good opportunity to refresh existing partnerships, as well as time to develop new collaborations.

Source(s): Bristol University, England (UK)

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