The Network is a collaboration of service users, local communities, health and care providers, commissioners and a range of regional and national stakeholders, including charities and local government. It is led by NIHR ARC South London, working closely with NIHR ARC East of England  as well as the other 13 ARCs nationally.

The Mental Health Implementation Network will engage with service users, local communities, health and care providers, commissioners and a wide range of regional and national stakeholders to deliver evidence-based service change. Projects will work to improve mental health across the life course by catalysing and evaluating high impact interventions at key stages in regional and national services.

Aims of our research

The network’s objectives are:

  • To create a national collaboration between key multidisciplinary stakeholders across government, health services, the third sector, universities, Applied Research Collaborations, Academic Health Science Networks, and service users and the public, to work together to catalyse implementation of effective mental health interventions
  • To work together to identify and prioritise areas of mental health services that require improvement to meet individual and system needs
  • To identify evidence-based solutions to maximise the relevance and impact of the interventions at a population and individual level
  • To identify and agree the best methods for implementing the required evidence-based solutions and to test how they can be put into practice in a range of services across the Applied Research Collaborations and Academic Health Science Networks
  • To evaluate the impact of implementing mental health interventions using state of the art research methods.

Our work so far

The MHIN launched a scoping exercise in April 2021 to identify specific areas of mental health care in England where there is a high level of unmet need, and which could be addressed through existing evidence-based solutions at scale. There was an excellent response to the scoping exercise, with mental health trusts, charities, social and educational services, and research organisations, helping to identify more than 90 mental health needs in England.

MHIN researchers then aligned these needs with those identified by other studies in England since 2015 and a review of national policy documents. Using this approach, the researchers have identified seven broad areas of mental health need and their accompanying solutions in England: 

  • Children and young people 
  • Comorbidities 
  • Inequalities 
  • Mental health systems strengthening 
  • Talking therapies
  • Suicide / self-harm
  • Severe mental illness. 

Working under the seven areas, the researchers then identified 22 mental health solutions that meet the needs of patients and health systems, may be ready for implementation, and are supported by evidence of effectiveness, including NICE guidance. 

The team are now inviting stakeholders in mental health care to rate these solutions on how well they are likely to deliver on a series of objectives, which support national and NIHR priorities. 

Read more about our prioritisation work

Governance arrangements

MHIN Executive

The MHIN is governed by an Executive, which is chaired by programme lead Professor Colin Drummond and meets monthly.  

MHIN Advisory Board

The advisory board is co-chaired by Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, director of NIHR ARC South London, and Professor Peter Jones, director of NIHR ARC East of England.

Read more about the Executive and the Advisory Board

Download a diagram of the ARC MHIN’s organisational structure

How we are involving patients, service users, carers and the public

We have embedded involvement, engagement and participation throughout the governance structures and workstreams. We are in the process of appointing a patient and carer involvement engagement and participation (PCIEP) lead and a national PCIEP coordinator.