Current Research Opportunities
Current opportunities for service user participation in research
Below is a list of current research studies that are open to recruitment in HPFT. Please get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like further information, or are interested in taking part.
PPIP 2: Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis - This study aims to understand if some cases of psychosis are caused by immune system problems. The immune system normally controls our ability to fight infection. If the immune system goes wrong it may cause diseases called ‘autoimmune’ diseases. We can diagnose some of these autoimmune diseases using blood tests. We are specifically interested in antibodies that may be the cause symptoms of psychosis and possibly cause some cases of schizophrenia. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of these autoimmune diseases in people with first episode psychosis.
Trauma-AID: Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in adults with intellectual disabilities - People with intellectual disabilities (PwID) exposed to traumatic events can show typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more complex presentations, as well as challenging behaviours. Eye movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR) is an effective treatment in the general adult population. This study investigates how well an adapted EMDR protocol works in PwID, compared with treatment as usual.
STRATA: A multicentre double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial of SerTRaline for AnxieTy in adults with a diagnosis of Autism - Anxiety is common in autistic adults and can be more disabling than the core features of autism. This study aims to find out whether the drug sertraline is an effective treatment for anxiety in adults with a diagnosis of autism. Sertraline is a commonly prescribed antidepressant and is also recommended for the treatment of anxiety problems. We are interested to see whether the treatment improves symptoms of anxiety, enhances quality of life, and is effective in the longer term. We are also interested in understanding side effects of the treatment. Participants will receive either sertraline capsules or placebo non-active identical capsules, which they will be asked to take for up to 12 months. The results of this trial will help understand whether sertraline is an acceptable treatment and whether it is better or not than placebo in the treatment of anxiety in autistic adults.
Pattern Wise: Understanding the temporal dynamics of compulsivity - This is an observational study investigating the temporal dynamics of compulsivity and associated thoughts, feelings and experiences. Participants with obsessive compulsive disorder will be followed for 6 weeks via a smartphone app. Three-times daily, participants will rate 11 symptoms associated with compulsivity in response to push notifications. Participants will be instructed to complete 2 short gamified cognitive tests within the app. Using these data, personalised “networks” will be constructed that show how thoughts, feelings, behaviours change over time. Prior research has suggested that individuals with more densely connected symptom networks may experience more severe illness. This study will test the extent to which different network structures signify differences in clinical severity.
PSILOCD: Evaluating the effects of the 5-HT2A agonist psilocybin on the neurocognitive and clinical correlates of compulsivity: a pharmacological-challenge feasibility study - This study will investigate whether psilocybin exerts an enduring effect on OCD symptoms by activating the 5-HT2A receptor mechanisms in the relevant brain areas to restore OCD-related behavioural deficits. Furthermore, it will explore how psilocybin alters the balance between goal directed behaviour and habit in OCD and if this is a result of the drug inducing neuronal plasticity (a term used to describe changes in neurone growth in the brain). Changes in neuronal plasticity will be assessed using electroencephalography (EEG) paradigms and blood biomarkers. This is a pharmacological-challenge study, where participants with OCD receive 2 doses of psilocybin.
HaSB-IDD: Randomised controlled trial of group CBT for men with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and harmful sexual behaviour - Cognitive behavioural treatment can help non-disabled men when they have committed sex offences. This treatment is available in prisons, probation and in health settings, and research shows this can be helpful in stopping men from reoffending. Some men who commit sex offences have learning disabilities or autism. However, these men often do not get any treatment. This project will offer men with learning disabilities and/or autism the same kind of treatment that non-disabled men get. The treatment has been specifically adapted for them and this study will look at whether it is helpful for the men, in the way they feel and the way they behave. Participating men with learning disabilities and/or autism who have harmful sexual behaviour will be randomised to get treatment as usual or the new treatment, which is a form of group CBT.
Pharmacogenetics in mental health: personalised medicine for psychotropic drugs (antipsychotics, antidepressants, antimanic agents and other pychotropics) - Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder constitute one of the leading causes of disability in young adults. Depression is a highly common condition affecting about one in four people. Antipsychotics and antidepressants are the most common treatment for these illnesses. Although they are effective for many patients they can also cause severe side effects. It is possible that genetic differences could explain why some patients respond to their treatment better than others and also why some patients experience severe side effects. This study seeks to investigate if genetic profiling can help optimise the prescribing of psychotropic medications and lead to improved clinical outcomes and reduced side effects. Adult patients with schizophrenia, delusional, schizoaffective or bipolar disorders who participate in the study will be offered genome-wide genotyping.
ADaPT: Pilot implementation of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy for children in care with posttraumatic stress disorder - Many young people in care are struggling with mental health difficulties. One such difficulty is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People with PTSD experience symptoms which can become worse if they don’t get help, and make lots of things very difficult – like making friends and doing well in school. There are good treatments available that research shows can help children to recover from these problems, called trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapies. But many children with care-experience, who have PTSD, won't get this treatment. This project will help to understand why services might or might not use evidence-based treatments and how this can be changed, to help the mental health of these young people.
Staff and service user views on digital health tools in psychosis - Conventional methods of monitoring and treating psychosis rely on patients recalling symptoms over the preceding weeks or months at a scheduled appointment time. This can be problematic in a condition that requires precise, time-sensitive treatment, particularly in response to signs of emerging relapse. Advancements in technology can help address this challenge and widespread development of digital mental health systems is underway. This survey study aims to provide up-to-date data on digital inclusion rates to explore whether some patients are being left behind as a result of digital adoption.
Thoughts about physical activity - Many people who experience psychosis spend too much time sitting down and not enough time exercising. To help design effective interventions for this we need to understand what helps and hinders physical activity. This study aims to develop and validate four new questionnaires to assess thoughts about physical activity in people with psychosis. Participants will be asked to complete a pack of questionnaires, and provide some brief demographic information.
Understanding anger and aggression - This study aims to create a new questionnaire measuring the beliefs and thinking that leads to aggression in people with psychosis, and examine what psychological factors ‘drive’ aggression (i.e. keeps it going).
MINDS study WP2: Coproducing improved mental health acute inpatient discharge using a Systems Approach - This study follows on from the previous MINDS Study which aimed to understand issues with the current mental health acute inpatient discharge process. This study (Work Package 2) aims to codesign improvements to the discharge process. Participants will be asked to join two workshops in which they will review some of the information gathered in the first study, and suggest ideas for improving the discharge process from mental health inpatient wards.
Does a phased approach enhance outcomes for CT-PTSD for Complex PTSD? - Complex PTSD has recently been recognised as a separate diagnosis from PTSD because of additional symptoms, such as emotion dysregulation and interpersonal relationship difficulties. Current treatment provision for CPTSD is variable across the UK health service and not enough evidence exists to answer questions for planning what treatments to offer. It is unclear: (i) whether the trauma-focused first-line psychological treatments recommended by NICE improve all CPTSD symptoms; (ii) whether the trauma-focused treatment should start right away or after a preparatory phase of “stabilisation”; (iii) which patients may benefit most from a phased treatment approach, and if so, what are the possible explanatory factors. The study will compare the delivery of TF-CT with and without a preparatory phase.