Project IIRP12

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

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 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: 

  • Corinna Hackmann, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sarah Rae, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (

Researchers and institutions

  • Dr Adam P Wagner, University of East Anglia
  • Prof. Julia Jones, University of Hertfordshire
  • Prof. Frank Rohricht, East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Zohra Taousi, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Assoc. Prof. Sonia Dalkin, Northumbria University
  • Prof. Catherine Haighton, Northumbria University
  • Prof. John Clarkson, University of Cambridge
  • Dr. Alexander Komashie, University of Cambridge
  • Prof. Alan Simpson, King’s College London 
  • Dr. Jamie Murdoch, King’s College London
  • Dr. Melanie Handley, University of Hertfordshire 
  • Dr. Hannah Zeilig, Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) based in England
  • Dr. Corinna Hackmann, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Sophie Bagge, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Joy Bray, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust
  • Dr. Emma Kaminskiy, Anglia Ruskin University

Contact us

Sarah Rae,