Centre for Mental Health and Safety

Centre for Mental Health and Safety

The Centre for Mental Health and Safety is an internationally-recognised research centre that has had a major influence on UK policy and practice since 1996.

Today it continues to deliver fresh insights that enable health professionals, service providers, policymakers, patients, offenders and their families explore opportunities to:

  • improve safety and reduce risk;
  • prevent suicide and self-harm;
  • combat the stigma of mental illness.

The Centre for Mental Health and Safety is led by Professor Roger Webb, who is a mental health epidemiologist with expertise in conducting studies using large interlinked routinely collected datasets in the UK, Denmark and other countries. Our research teams have a worldwide reputation for conducting pioneering and impactful academic research.

Key projects

Our work is organised into four key areas based at The University of Manchester:

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The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) is the UK’s leading research programme into suicide prevention in clinical services.

NCISH has collected in-depth information on all suicides in the UK since 1996.

We provide crucial evidence to support service and training improvements and, ultimately, to contribute to a reduction in patient suicide rates and an overall decrease in the national suicide rate

NCISH evidence is cited in national policies and clinical guidance and regulation in all UK countries.

Key staff:

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The Health and Justice Research Network (HJRN) is a multidisciplinary network of academics and clinicians.

Our portfolio of research focuses on:

  • The health and social care needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Screening and identification of health needs and risks.
  • Pathways of care in the criminal justice system.
  • Implementing and evaluating novel health services and initiatives to improve the health of people in contact with the criminal justice system.

Key staff:

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The Manchester Self-Harm (MaSH) Project collects data on emergency department presentations for self-harm made to three local general hospitals:

  • Manchester Royal Infirmary (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Wythenshawe Hospital (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • North Manchester General Hospital (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)

Our work supports further research, clinical guideline development, and the creation of local and national self-harm and suicide prevention initiatives and strategies, including NICE guidance on self-harm (National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health 2004, 2011).

Key staff:


The National Drug Evidence Centre (NDEC) is an interdisciplinary group that carries out epidemiological, evaluative and policy-related research in the area of substance use.
We have been responsible for analysis of national surveillance data on substance use treatment since 2003.

Our work includes:

  • The largest studies to date, internationally, investigating all-cause mortality, overdose mortality, suicide, the effect of treatment on mortality risk, and criminal behaviour associated with substance use, based on analysis of multisource, linked datasets.
  • Policy evaluation, including national evaluation of impact of payment by results commissioning schemes.
  • Resource allocation: providing analysis to inform the Department of Health’s allocation of drug and alcohol specific public health funds.

Key staff:

  • Dr Andrew Jones, Co-Director (Epidemiology and Public Health Group, Division of Population Health)
  • Professor Tim Millar, Co-Director (Centre for Mental Health and Safety, Division of Psychology and Mental Health)


Contributions to Greater Manchester’s NIHR Infrastructure.

  • Professor Nav Kapur and Professor Roger Webb are Co-leads of the Preventing Suicide and Self-harm theme of the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration. The theme’s research team is identifying and evaluating service innovations to reduce risk in specialist mental health services, in general hospital emergency departments, and in primary care.
    Key staff: Dr Leah Quinlivan, Dr Jodi Westhead, Jane Graney.
  • Prof Webb leads a series of studies that are being carried using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) for the Digital & Data Science work programme in the Mental Health theme of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.
    Key staff: Dr Maja Radojčić
  • Prof Webb leads research that is being conducted using the Greater Manchester Secure Data Environment (GM-SDE) in the Mental Health theme of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester.
    Key staff: Dr Louise Hussey
  • Dr Sarah Steeg is a Mental Health Fellow in the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. Dr Steeg is investigating ‘Primary and social care service utilisation and needs among people who have harmed themselves.

Other Centre publications.