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University of York & Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work (SPSW) at York is one of the leading UK centres for teaching and research in social policy, social work, applied social science and professional development for public management. In the latest national research evaluation exercise (REF 2014) SPSW’s overall research performance was ranked third in the UK, with 54% of research activity rated as world leading. The Department was equal first in the UK for the impact of its research. The majority of SPSW’s academic staff have been assessed as either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Read more here.

The International Centre for Mental Health Social Research (ICMHSR) brings together researchers from around the world to undertake a unique research programme applying social science to mental health practice.  Based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, the Centre's research focuses on social perspectives in mental health through the life course from childhood to old age.  The collaboration meets a need for research into the social, economic and cultural factors which help to enhance mental well-being and support recovery from mental distress. Research also focuses on the role of social problems in the cause and course of mental health problems and will develop and evaluate innovative ways of tackling them.

Read more information about ICMHSR here.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust was created in April 2006, following the merger of County Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust and Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust. We provide a range of mental health, learning disability and eating disorder services for the people living in County Durham and Darlington, the Tees Valley and most of North Yorkshire.

With over 6,500 staff and an annual operating income of over £300 million we deliver our services by working in partnership with local authorities and clinical commissioning groups, a wide range of other providers including voluntary organisations and the private sector, as well as service users, their carers and the public.

Read more here.

Research Team

Dr Stephen Wright (Principal Investigator)

Dr Stephen Wright is an early intervention psychiatrist and former deputy medical director with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. He has worked in Early Intervention in the UK since the services were first developed, supporting the increasing emphasis on prevention.

He is Clinical Lead for Mental Health for Humber Coast & Vale Integrated Care System and also a Clinical Advisor to the North East and Yorkshire & Humber Early Intervention Clinical Network.

He has a long-standing interest in Youth mental health, and research interest include harnessing the therapeutic wealth of the community (for example in SCENE) and in reducing the physical health inequalities faced by people with mental illness.

He has led study visits to the WHO Collaborating Centre in Trieste, Italy, where they have developed an acclaimed system for mental health care delivery based on human rights and whole system community support, with a view to supporting meaningful development of community mental health care both locally and regionally in the UK.

Dr Stephen Wright

Dr Kayonda Ngamaba (Research Associate)

Dr Kayonda Ngamaba has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Counselling (University of Bolton), Masters in International Development (University of Manchester), and PhD in Psychology (University of Manchester). He has a background in health psychology and mental health research.

Kayonda is a researcher at the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research (ICMHSR). From August 2017 to March 2019, he was workingon Connecting People Implementation ( study to evaluate social interventions within Community Mental Health Teams in 5 NHS Trusts across England (Durham, Bradford, Somerset, Essex, and Hertfordshire). He has also worked for the NHS (Greater Manchester Mental Health) and the University of Manchester on several projects including RCT Prevention of Suicide in Prisons.

Kayonda is working within a team in the Social Policy and Social Work Department at the University of York to evaluate psychosocial interventions within the NHS Community Mental Health Teams. He has published high-quality research papers in several academic journals including the European Journal of Public Health, Journal of Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Journal of Psychology in Africa, Journal of Religion and Health, and Quality of Life Research.

Dr Kayonda Ngamaba

Dr Cheyann Heap (Research Associate)

Dr Cheyann Heap's background is in clinical psychology. She completed her BSc Psychology at the University of York, and her ClinPsyD at the University of Hull.

Post-qualification as a Clinical Psychologist, Cheyann worked in learning disability services in the NHS. She then moved into international volunteering and mental health. Cheyann now works as a Research Associate at the University of York, interested in social and community approaches to psychology, mental health and wellbeing.

Cheyann's other interests include: older age and dementia, (in)equality and human rights, activism and volunteering.

Dr Cheyann Heap

Dr Beth Casey (Research Associate)

Dr Beth Casey holds a Master of Social Work and MA in Social Research Methods (Social Work). Her PhD was completed at Durham University. Informed by Foucauldian and feminist theoretical positions, her PhD explored how child neglect is ‘performed’ by social work professionals and parents who had received professional intervention as a result of concerns about neglect. Specifically it focused on definitions of neglect, discourses of responsibility, assessment and interventions. Beth also worked on a range of research projects at Durham University, including an exploration of whole system working in mental health services. She is committed to producing research that incorporates the perspective of families and hard to reach groups, including those that access health and social care services.

Between 2014 and 2015, Beth was a Research Associate at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), employed on the ‘Functional Family Therapy (FFT) Project’; a collaboration between GCU Parenting and Family Support Research Programme and the Glasgow integrated health and social care team. The aim of the study was to explore barriers and facilitators to implementing FFT in a community setting, from the perspective of families and practitioners. 

Beth is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York and employed on the SCENE research project. The project aims to develop and evaluate a new intervention to help patients with psychosis overcome social isolation and improve quality of life.

Dr Beth Casey