Ongoing research 

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Surveillance System (CAPSS)

CAPSS uses a process of active surveillance to support the epidemiological study of rare mental health disorders or events amongst children and adolescents across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Other ongoing research projects

We conducted a survey to find out how well depression is diagnosed and treated in older people admitted to acute hospitals. Our report contains recommendations for acute hospital managers, staff and others. 

What was the Depression Survey?

The Depression Survey was a survey of depression reporting in older adults admitted to acute hospitals.

We aimed to:

  • understand the current practice of diagnosing and treating depression in older adults admitted to acute hospitals, and to
  • make recommendations to support improvements in clinical practice. 

Data was collected in Autumn 2017 and the report was published in March 2018.

Why did the Depression Survey take place?

Research shows that at least a quarter of older adults admitted to an acute hospital have depression, but it often goes unrecognised or untreated.

This is particularly the case for older people as both practitioners and service users assume mental health problems are an inevitable part of growing older and that nothing can be done. This is known as ‘therapeutic nihilism’.i

What did the Depression Survey involve?

We collected data from a sample of inpatients admitted to acute hospitals, and compared the percentage of service users with depression recorded in their notes, with the estimated prevalence of depression in older adults in acute hospitals. 

We asked each site to audit the discharge summaries and medical records of 30 service users.

Twenty-seven sites across England took part in the survey.

Where can I find the results and recommendations?

You can download a copy of the Depression Survey Report (pdf). 

Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions at:

[i] Burroughs H et al. 'Justifiable depression': how primary care professionals and patients view late-life depression? A qualitative study. Fam Pract. 2006 Jun;23(3):369-77. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

We're evaluating e-learning modules to help clinicians manage and treat people who have used novel psychoactive substances.


What was the problem?

NEPTUNE was set up in 2015 to help manage the challenges posed by novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and club drugs.

These substances – which were formally known as ‘legal highs’ – are compounds designed to mimic existing established recreational drugs.

The effects of NPS and club drugs vary significantly between substances, and there is comparatively little information on effects compared to traditional drugs. NPS and club drugs have been linked to increased mental health problems.

With increased use of these substances, clinicians across settings reported a lack of knowledge and confidence in clinical management of people who used these substances.


What has NEPTUNE done?

To address this knowledge gap, the Health Foundation funded NEPTUNE to produced guidance documents and e-learning modules for clinicians. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Resources are aimed at clinicians working in a range of frontline settings, including drug treatment and recovery services, emergency departments, sexual health services, primary care and mental health services.


Why are we evaluating resources?

The Health Foundation funded our independent evaluation of NEPTUNE e-learning modules, in 2016. Our findings will help inform the roll-out of free e-learning modules for clinicians by:

  • Evaluating who the module works for, and why

  • Understanding barriers to accessing e-learning resources, and how to overcome them.


Who are NEPTUNE?

NEPTUNE are hosted by the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL).

The NEPTUNE team are Dr Owen Bowden-Jones and Dr Dima Abdulrahim, with support of a wider Expert Advisory Group.


How is everything funded?

The Health Foundation fund NEPTUNE, and our independent evaluation.


What research methods are being used?

There are two main parts of the evaluation:

  • Qualitative case studies

    We have spoken to clinicians in six services where the module was piloted. Our sample included sexual health services, specialist drugs services and emergency departments.

    Key stakeholders, working in a range of other settings, also provided feedback.

  • Case note audit

    A case note audit at one pilot site was been done to compare the identification and management of NPS before and after the module was piloted.



Please contact Dr Alan Quirk for any queries or questions about this research.



The CCQI has set up a range of quality network programs to promote good clinical practice and support improvements in the quality of care delivered by members of the network.

Despite the widespread use of these peer-led quality improvement networks over the last 20 years, there is very little evidence about their impact, especially with regard to patient outcomes.

In 2012 we set up a randomised control trial of a quality improvement network for low-secure mental health services. The aim of the study is to examine the impact of network membership on the process and outcomes of care over a twelve month period in comparison to non members.

Detailed information:

Title: The evaluated quality network for Low Secure Units (eLSU)

Funded by: Royal College of Psychiatrists

Ethical approval: CCQI REC reference number: 2012-3

Trial registration number: ISRCTN79614916


Twelve months after randomization, in comparison to the services that do not join the network, will the service members show:

  • Higher level of compliance with 10 key standards of care 
  • Higher levels of patient safety
  • Higher levels of patient satisfaction
  • Higher levels of patient mental well-being
  • Lower levels of staff burnout

For further details please contact Dr. Lina Aimola

Telephone: +44 020 3701 2700

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry