Using big data in mental health research



What is CRIS?

Researchers in mental health needing patient data can access the Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) database developed by the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). The information CRIS provides is from anonymised electronic patient records. Researchers can use the data to identify patterns in mental health treatment and service use.


Through extensive development of the system since CRIS launched in 2008, a huge amount of progress has been made, resulting today in a mental health database of unrivalled depth and breadth. Not only does CRIS provide access to over a quarter of a million anonymised medical records, it also allows for extraction and analysis of text fields, including detail behind the symptoms people report, the treatments they receive, and the outcomes they experience.


Findings based on data from CRIS already forms a substantial body of research with over 70 published papers to date. All of this work informs further research into how we can improve mental health treatment and services for everybody.


An elderly couple walking down the road

Addressing the mental health mortality gap

Pregnant lady

Mental illness medication and pregnancy


Understanding antipsychotics


Pie chart

Understanding media stigma

YouTube video

Watch the videos

Prof. Matthew Hotopf

Bringing informatics to the bedside



If you have any questions or enquiries regarding CRIS please email or alternatively ring the CRIS team on 0203 228 8553.


Please note that CRIS data are held within an NHS firewall and researchers using these require an honorary contract with the hosting Trust or a research passport. All CRIS research requires approval from a patient-led Oversight Committee.


If you’ve got a solution that could address unmet clinical need in mental health through medical technology you may be interested in applying for the 2018 NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Challenge Award, open until 4 April.