Our support

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in the NHS. This support covers every stage of research, from set up to delivery.

We provide world-class health service infrastructure - research support staff such as clinical research nurses, and research support services such as pharmacy, pathology and radiology - to support organisations seeking to conduct clinical research in the NHS in England. Some of this research is funded by the NIHR, but most of it is funded by NHS non-commercial partners and industry. We also supported the set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS through our study support service.

The mental health specialty is one of over 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local levels. Our job is to ensure that the mental health studies that are included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to ensure they are delivered successfully in the NHS.

Our support:

Our specialty supports large-scale research studies carried out in England with the help of people who use NHS services and people who work in them. We work with experienced researchers and mental health professionals working in local universities and services. There is a dedicated workforce, including clinical studies officers, who support research projects by identifying and recruiting eligible participants and negotiating with NHS trusts on behalf of a study team. Many of the clinical studies officers are based within NHS trusts and often work alongside research and development staff.

Studies the Mental Health Specialty cover:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Autism
  • Bipolar affective disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Personality disorders
  • PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stress-related and somatoform disorders
  • Suicide and self-harm

We support research that deals with a wide range of conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and personality disorders. Our portfolio includes studies that examine the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental health conditions such as:

  • Reduction of anxiety and stress
  • Intervention for ill-treated infants to improve mental and physical health
  • Cognitive therapy for post-traumatic stress disorders in children and adults
  • Cognitive therapy with stress-related and somatoform disorders

National Mental Health Clinical Specialty Leads

Each of our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks has at least one nominated local Clinical Specialty Research Lead for Mental Health. These clinicians lead research groups to promote and support mental health research within the NHS trusts in their area.

At a national level the local leads come together to manage the national mental health clinical research portfolio. This involves regularly reviewing the progress of studies, identifying barriers to recruitment, and coming up with solutions and strategies to help overcome those barriers. Our National Specialty Group of clinical experts offer advice and support to commercial and non-commercial customers looking to conduct research in the NHS.

Meet our National Specialty Group Members

Involving patients and carers in your research

CRN Mental Health strongly recommend and encourage all studies to show that people with experience of mental health problems and/or carers of people with mental health problems have helped develop the research proposal, or will be involved in the project.

The Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) teams can advise about the best way of getting input from people who are experts by experience. They can also offer you advice about getting relatives of people with mental health problems involved in your research.

Patient and Carer Involvement in Mental health Research


CRN Mental Health Specialty Leaflet

The Mental Health Specialty leaflet gives an overview of the services we offer.

CRN Mental Health Specialty Profile

Read ourĀ Mental Health Specialty profile to find out how we can support your commercial study.

How to access support

Find out how to apply for Clinical Research Network support and how your study can benefit from our Study Support Service.