The Network is a collaboration of service users, local communities, health and care providers, commissioners and a range of regional and national stakeholders, including charities and local government. It is led by NIHR ARC South London, working closely with NIHR ARC East of England  as well as the other 13 ARCs nationally.

The Mental Health Implementation Network will engage with service users, local communities, health and care providers, commissioners and a wide range of regional and national stakeholders to deliver evidence-based service change. Projects will work to improve mental health across the life course by catalysing and evaluating high impact interventions at key stages in regional and national services.

Aims of our research

The network’s objectives are to:

  • Create a national collaboration between key multidisciplinary stakeholders across government, health services, the third sector, universities, Applied Research Collaborations, Academic Health Science Networks, and service users and the public, to work together to catalyse implementation of effective mental health interventions
  • Work together to identify and prioritise areas of mental health services that require improvement to meet individual and system needs
  • Identify evidence-based solutions to maximise the relevance and impact of the interventions at a population and individual level
  • Identify and agree the best methods for implementing the required evidence-based solutions and to test how they can be put into practice in a range of services across the Applied Research Collaborations and Academic Health Science Networks
  • Evaluate the impact of implementing mental health interventions using state of the art research methods

Our work so far

The MHIN launched a scoping exercise in April 2021 to identify specific areas of mental health care in England where there is a high level of unmet need, and which could be addressed through existing evidence-based solutions at scale. There was an excellent response to the scoping exercise, with mental health trusts, charities, social and educational services, and research organisations, helping to identify more than 90 mental health needs in England.

MHIN researchers then aligned these needs with those identified by other studies in England since 2015 and a review of national policy documents. Using this approach, the researchers have identified seven broad areas of mental health need and their accompanying solutions in England: 

  • Children and young people 
  • Comorbidities 
  • Inequalities 
  • Mental health systems strengthening 
  • Talking therapies
  • Suicide / self-harm
  • Severe mental illness

Working under the seven areas, the researchers then identified 22 mental health solutions that meet the needs of patients and health systems, may be ready for implementation, and are supported by evidence of effectiveness, including NICE guidance. 

Read more about our prioritisation work

ARC Selection 

Following a selection process we are delighted to announce the following ARCs and their local partners who will collaborate with us to implement these interventions in their local areas:

  • For Project 1 (Improving access to mental health services for minority ethnic communities) Greater Manchester and Yorkshire & Humber have been selected to implement the Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF)
  • For Project 2 (Children and young people’s mental health) East of England and Northwest Coast will be evaluating the implementation of parent-led Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • For Project 3 (Integrated care protocols for substance use issues, mental and physical health problems) Greater Manchester and Yorkshire & Humber have been selected to implement Alcohol Assertive Outreach Treatment

Governance arrangements

MHIN Executive

The MHIN is governed by an Executive committee, which is chaired by programme lead Dr Simon Hackett and meets bi-monthly.  

MHIN Advisory Board

The advisory board is chaired by Professor Claire Henderson, clinical professor of public mental health at King's College London. 

Read more about the Executive and the Advisory Board

Download a structure diagram

How we are involving patients, service users, carers and the public

We have embedded involvement, engagement and participation throughout our governance structures and projects:

The team provides advice and guidance on public involvement across each of the three MHIN projects. Specific advisory groups with Experts by Experience have been created to support some of the projects.Three Experts by Experience have joined our Advisory Board.

Read more

Find out about the other national research priority areas funded by NIHR who were awarded a total £13.125m to help solve the most pressing issues facing health and social care today. 

Related content