Project IIRP12

MINDS Study: To improve the outcomes and experiences of those discharged from mental health hospitals - IIRP12

This study entitled MINDS aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of those being discharged from mental health hospitals. This project is being funded by the NIHR and the study is being conducted from the 1st January 2022 - 31st December 2024.


Approximately 50,000 people leave mental health hospitals every year. Being discharged from hospital is a critical transition point in the individuals journey to personal recovery. Many people find being discharged an overwhelming and distressing situation. There is also a risk of becoming unwell again and approximately around 13% are re-admitted back into hospital in a short period. In recent times, this has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A discharge plan that is planned poorly can increase the risk of suicide.

Project aims

The MINDS study wants to improve the experience of mental health hospital discharges for all. There are guidelines, but so far there is still something that is stopping it from working well – so it is imperative that we understand what that is.

Project activity

There have been previous attempts to improve mental health hospital discharges, but the surveys show that there is still an issue. This project is the first to combine a research approach called ‘realist research’ with a design process called a ‘systems approach’. The idea is to drill down into each potential issue.

Realist research and systems approaches involve understanding all the steps in a process from the point of view of the people involved. Including why discharges are often not planned well, what people need to stay well after leaving hospital and how a co-produced discharge planning approach could address this. This should result in mental health hospital discharge processes that are easier to implement, better address the needs of service users and carers, and are more sustainable than what is currently available.

The potential impact

The MINDS project will work closely with a Lived Experience Advisory Group, carers and healthcare professionals to produce a Systemic Discharge Care Approach together.

This study will then ask staff and service users to test out the co-produced Systemic Discharge Care Approach. This is to find out whether it helps people feel more prepared to leave hospital, stay well and have a good quality of life after getting home. If this project finds that the tools and guidance are helpful, there will a development for a future study to make sure that the tools and guidance can be used across all NHS adult mental healthcare hospitals.

Who is involved? 

Co-Chief Investigators: Dr. Jon Wilson, Psychiatrist / Research Director at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Co-Chief Investigators: Sarah Rae, Expert by Experience, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (

Researchers and institutions

Dr Adam P Wagner, Theme Lead, ARC East of England Health Economics and Prioritisation (HEP) theme / University of East Anglia (

Prof. Julia Jones, Professor, University of Hertfordshire (

Prof. Frank Rohricht, Consultant Psychiatrist / Medical Director at East London NHS Foundation Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Zohra Taousi, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Assoc. Prof. Sonia Dalkin, Associate Professor of Applied Health Research in the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Northumbria University (S.DALKIN@NORTHUMBRIA.AC.UK)

Prof. Catherine Haighton, Professor of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University (KATIE.HAIGHTON@NORTHUMBRIA.AC.UK)

Prof. John Clarkson, Director of Cambridge Engineering Design Centre and Co-Director of Cambridge Public Health, University of Cambridge (

Dr. Alexander Komashie, Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge (A.Komashie

Prof. Alan Simpson, Professor of Mental Health Nursing, King’s College London (

Dr. Jamie Murdoch, Senior Lecturer in Social Science and Health, King’s College London (

Dr. Melanie Handley, Research Fellow, University of Hertfordshire (

Dr. Hannah Zeilig, Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) based in England

Dr. Corinna Hackmann, Clinical Psychologist / Adult Services Research Development Lead, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Sophie Bagge, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (

Dr. Joy Bray, Senior People Participation Lead, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust

Dr. Emma Kaminskiy, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of School, Anglia Ruskin University (


Sarah Rae, Expert by Experience, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (