The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry

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.
Read more here.



Research Team

Dr Domenico Giacco (Chief Investigator)

Dr Domenico Giacco is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Professor at the Department of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Warwick. He qualified as a psychiatrist in Naples (Italy), and worked at East London NHS Foundation Trust as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Research Fellow, accruing experience and expertise in research in social psychiatry.  

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


Agnes Chevalier (Programme Manager)

Agnes Chevalier graduated in Psychology at University College London and completed her Masters at Goldsmiths, University of London.

She has worked at the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry since 2014 where she gained experience working on a number of trials evaluating psycho-social interventions, as well as working therapeutically in acute mental health care settings. Most recently Agnes was coordinating a similar NIHR-funded programme exploring the effectiveness of one-to-one volunteer support for people with psychosis.  

Her research interests include access to mental health care, particularly in crisis, the experience of inpatient treatment and care, and the reduction of social isolation among people with mental illness.



Candice Brown (Research Assistant)

Candice Brown has studied in Psychology and has a Masters in Mental Health Studies from King's College London. 

Candice has been involved in research projects in the area of psychosis; where she has explored the experiences of severe mental illness from service users and carers, and has worked in a range of settings, such as inpatient units and early intervention services. She began working at the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry in 2019, joining the SCENE programme.

Her current research interests include child and adolescent mental health, severe mental illness and ethnic disparities in mental health access and treatment.