The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, East London NHS Foundation Trust and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), London, United Kingdom

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.

The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry has strong international links. Prior to COFI project, the Unit had a coordinating role in a number of Europe-wide EC funded collaborative studies such as CONNECT, STOP, PROMO and EUGATE.

Address: Cherry Tree Way, E13 8SP, London
Contact email:

Research Team

Dr Domenico Giacco (Chief Investigator)

Domenico Giacco is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Research Fellow at the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry of the Queen Mary University of London and East London NHS Foundation Trust. He qualified as a psychiatrist in Naples (Italy).

Clinically, he works in a busy community mental health service, which is a single point of access for people with specialist mental health needs in the area of Newham, London. 

His research activities focus on developing and evaluating innovative models for provision of acute and community mental health care. He has developed and rigorously tested interventions to reduce social isolation in psychosis, improve shared decision making in acute psychiatric settings and facilitate implementation of service users and families centred care. 

His research has also identified principles of good practice for mental health care of refugees and other migrants, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.

Read his publications here

Professor Stefan Priebe (Co-Lead Investigator) 

Professor Stefan Priebe graduated in Psychology and Medicine, and qualified as Neurologist, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist in Germany.  He was the Head of the Department of Social Psychiatry at the Free University Berlin, before he took up his current post in 1997 as Professor for Social and Community Psychiatry at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Queen Mary, University of London). He holds visiting professorships in other European countries.

Stefan Priebe developed 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 publications here

Dr Anna Ermakova (Programme Manager)

Anya studied neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh and then obtained PhD in psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. There she researched various mechanisms contributing to formation and maintenance of psychotic symptoms. Using fMRI, she investigated how people with first episode of psychosis react to novelty and learn about rewards. She also investigated the connection between stress, psychosis and reasoning bias called Jumping to Conclusions. Anya then worked as a science officer at the Beckley Foundation -  charity and UN-accredited NGO supporting and directing scientific research into the effects of psychedelics and other psychoactive substances and their potential to aid psychotherapy.

Anya's research interests are at the interface of psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience and include development of new therapeutic interventions for people with serious mental illness, early interventions in psychosis and research into altered stated of consciousness.  



Helena Tee (Research Assistant) Sean Delaney

Helena Tee is a research assistant on the SCENE project. She graduated from University of Manchester with a BSc in Psychology and MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology. Helena has experience working therapeutically within mental health services and of coordinating randomised controlled trials. Her current research interests include service evaluation and the development of interventions for mental illness.