The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry is part of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. The Unit carries out an extensive research programme, in addition to providing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. In 2012 it was designated as a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Services Development.

The Unit is led by Professor Stefan Priebe, with over 30 members of staff including clinical lecturers, researchers, PhD students and research clinicians.

Our research work is focused on concepts, methods and practice of social and community psychiatry, with a particular emphasis on social interactions in mental health care. This includes evaluating care in naturalistic and experimental studies, developing and testing innovative treatment methods, exploring historical and epidemiological aspects and carrying out studies on communication and therapeutic relationships.

The Unit has a significant track record of implementing complex interventions in the context of the National Health System and in Europe, including research on doctor- patient communication, day hospitals, and financial incentives for medication, patient reported outcomes and non-verbal therapies.

Research projects are funded by a number of external funding bodies including the European Commission, Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institute of Health Research and the Department of Health.

Core Research Team

Dr Victoria Bird (Co-Chief Investigator)

Victoria Bird is a Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. She is the Principal Investigator on a number of grants assessing resource-oriented approaches to community mental health care, including the TACK study. Her research interests include quality of life for people with chronic mental and physical health conditions and global approaches to community based mental health care.

Prof Stefan Priebe (Co- Chief Investigator)

Professor Stefan Priebe graduated in Psychology and Medicine, and qualified as Neurologist, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist in Germany.  He went on to develop the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, which in 2012 became a designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Services Development and of which he is the Director. In various roles in the United Kingdom and abroad, he has been involved in both developing services and steering research activities in psychiatry. He was a principal investigator for a number of large European collaborative studies. His research focuses on understanding helpful relationships, developing novel therapeutic approaches and evaluating complex interventions in mental health care.

Read his staff profile


Dr Philip McNamee (Programme Manager) 

Philip McNamee graduated in Psychology from the University of Manchester before pursuing a PhD in Health Psychology. Through his doctoral work he studied the process of developing complex, psychosocial interventions for cancer survivors. Following his PhD he worked as a research associate on a number of trials implementing psychosocial interventions in a number of clinical settings. Philip is the programme manager of TACK and is responsible for the day to day management of the project. 

His interests include mixed methods research, and the contextual factors that affect the success of complex interventions. 

Megan Cassidy (Research Assistant)

Megan Cassidy is a Research Assistant on the TACK project. She graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast with a BSc in Psychology and a MA in Cognitive Psychology and Culture. She has worked at the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry since 2014 and has experience of coordinating large randomised controlled trials. Her research interests include the development of interventions for mental illness by utilising social networks as well as the use of technology in mental health care.


Aleksandra Matanov (Research Assistant)