Social justice and inequalities in mental health

Our research group brings together scholar-activists, practitioners, artists and those with lived experience of mental health difficulties to tackle disadvantage and to bring about change in knowledge, practice and public understanding of mental health. Influenced by critical social theory, including critical psychology, community psychology, feminism, queer theory, critical race theory and critical disability studies) we strive to promote a psychosocial understanding of mental distress as a meaningful response to adversity (such as poverty, war/conflict, violence, trauma, abuse, and discrimination) and shaped by social inequality (in relation to race, class, sexuality, gender, disability, etc.).

Our research

Drawing on our strengths in, and innovative approaches to, qualitative methods, our research brings to the fore the lived experiences and voices of those who experience mental distress, their families and carers, and the professionals who seek to deliver effective and compassionate services under adverse conditions (under-funding/funding cuts, staff shortages, institutional restraints and hostile work cultures).

We work in partnership with ‘experts by experience’, NHS service providers, mental health professionals, third sector organisations, schools and arts organisations, to raise awareness of mental health discrimination through effective public engagement that promotes a holistic view of the individual/community in context, and enables sustainable and effective change in service provision.

Frith H (2020) Appearance and Society,In: Rumsey Nicola, Harcourt Diana (eds.), Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of AppearanceOxford University Press

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199580521.001.0001

Francis, N., & Hanna, P. (2020) Informal carer experiences of UK dementia services – a systematic review. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. DOI:

Andrews, S., & Hanna, P. (2020) Investigating the psychological mechanisms underlying the relationship between nightmares, suicide and self-harm, Sleep Medicine Reviews. DOI:

Hanna, P, & Burgess, M (2020) Sometimes all the lights go out in my head: creating Blackout the multi-sensory immersive experience of Bipolar II. IN Reavey, P. Visual Methods in Psychology. 2nd Edition. Psychology Press

Eldridge, J., John, M., and Gleeson, K (2020) Confiding in others: exploring experiences of young people who have been in care Adoption and Fostering  

Walker, C., Hanna, P., Raisborough, J. (2020) Representations of the National Health Service (NHS) in UK print media. Health Promotion International. DOI:

Erickson, M., Hanna, P., Walker, C. (2020). The UK higher education senior management survey: a statactivist response to managerialist governance. Studies in Higher Education. DOI:

Walker, C., Klein, K., Marks, N., Hanna, P. (2019) Caring spaces and practices: does social prescribing offer new possibilities for the fluid mess of ‘mental health’? IN McGrath, L & Reavey, P. The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications. Routledge

Hanna, P., Wijesinghe, S., Paliatsos, I., Walker, C., Adams, M., & Kimbu, A. (2019). Active engagement with nature: outdoor adventure tourism, sustainability and wellbeing. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(9), 1355-1373.

Rooney, L, John, M and Morison L (2019) Communication strategies used by women to influence male partners to seek professional help for mental health problems: A qualitative study Clinical Psychologist 1-9 DOI: 10.1111/cp.12182

Dansey D, Shbero, D and John M (2019) Keeping Secrets: How children in Foster care manage stigma . Adoption & Fostering 43(1): 354-368.

Braun V, Clarke V, Hayfield N, Frith H, Mason H, Moller N, Shah-Beckley I (2018) Qualitative story completion: Possibilities and potential pitfalls, Qualitative Research in Psychology16(1)pp. 136-155 Routledge DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2018.1536395

Dansey D, John M and Shbero, D (2018) How children in foster care engage with loyalty conflict: presenting a model of processes informing loyalty. Adoption & Fostering 42(4): 354-368.

Frith, H (2018) Researching Sex and Sexualities, ZED Books

Harley, D., Morgan J., Frith H (2018) Cyberpsychology as Everyday Digital Experience across the Lifespan, Palgrave MacMillan UK

Frith, H (2018) Exploring the Meaning of Orgasmic Absence Using the Story Completion Method, SAGE Publications

Frith, H (2017) Ejaculatory Timing and Masculine Identities: The Politics of Ab/normalising Sexual Performance, In: Louth Jonathan, Potter Martin (eds.), Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities University of Chester Press

Walker, C., Hart, A., Hanna, P. (2017) Building a New Community Psychology of Mental Health: spaces, places, people and activities. Palgrave Macmillan

Hanna, P & Mwale, S (2017) Using Skype for virtual face-to-face data collection IN Clarke, V and Braun, V. Beyond the interview: A practical guide to innovative methods for qualitative data collection. Cambridge University Press  

Morgan, N., Sedgley, D., Pritchard, A., Hanna, P (2017) Tourism and autism: Journeys of mixed emotions. Annals of Tourism Research, 66: 14-25

Frith, H (2015) Sexercising to orgasm: Embodied pedagogy and sexual labour in women’s magazines, Sexualities18(3)pp. 310-328 SAGE Publications DOI: 10.1177/1363460714550912

Walker C, Hanna P, Cunningham L, Ambrose P. (2015) 'Parasitic encounters in debt: The UK mainstream credit industry'. Theory and Psychology, 25 (2): 239-256

Hanna, P., Walker, C., Cunningham, L., Ambrose, P (2015) The indebted individual: contradictions in understanding debt and mental health in the UK, IN Degirmencioglu, S & Walker, C. Social and Psychological dimensions of Personal Debt and the Debt Industry. Palgrave Macmillian

Frith, H (2015) Orgasmic Bodies: The Orgasm in Contemporary Western Culture, Palgrave MacMillan

Walker, C., Hanna, P., Hart, A (2015) Psychology without Psy professionals: Exploring an unemployed centre families’ project as a mental health resource, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 25 (6): 502-514

Walker, C., Hanna, P., Cunningham, L., Ambrose, P (2014) 'A kind of mental warfare': An economy of affect in the UK debt collection industry, Australian Community Psychologist 26 (2): 54-67

Frith, H (2014) Visualising the ‘real’ and the ‘fake’: emotion work and the representation of orgasm in pornography and everyday sexual interactions, Journal of Gender Studies24(4) Routledge DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2014.950556

Hanna, P (2014) Foucauldian Discourse Analysis in Psychology: reflecting on a hybrid reading of Foucault when researching ‘ethical subjects’, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11 (2): 142-159

Hanna, P (2013) Reconceptualising Subjectivity in Critical Social Psychology: turning to Foucault, Theory and Psychology, 23 (5): 657-674

Frith, H (2013) Accounting for orgasmic absence: exploring heterosex using the story completion method, Psychology and Sexuality4(3)pp. 310-322 Routledge DOI: 10.1080/19419899.2012.760172

Frith, H (2013) Labouring on orgasms: embodiment, efficiency, entitlement and obligations in heterosex, Culture, Health and Sexuality15(4)pp. 494-510 Routledge DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2013.767940

Hanna, P (2012) Using internet technologies as a research medium, Qualitative Research, 12 (2): 239-242

Frith, H (2012) ‘CONGRATS!! You had an orgasm’: Constructing orgasm on an internet discussion board, Feminism and Psychology23(2)pp. 252-260 SAGE Publications DOI: 10.1177/0959353512463558

Raisborough, J., Frith, H., Klein, O (2012) Media and Class-making: What Lessons Are Learnt When a Celebrity Chav Dies?, Sociology47(2)pp. 251-266 SAGE Publications DOI: 10.1177/0038038512444813

Adams, M., & Hanna, P. (2012). Your past is not another’s present: time, the other and ethnocentrism in cross-cultural personality psychology. Theory and Psychology. 22 (4): 436-451

Frith, H., Raisborough, J., Klein, O (2012) Shame and Pride in How to Look Good Naked, Feminist Media Studies14(2)pp. 165-177SAGE Publications DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2012.722558

Frith, H., Raisborough, J., Klein, O (2012) Making death ‘good’: instructional tales for dying in newspaper accounts of Jade Goody’s death, Sociology of Health and Illness35(3)pp. 419-433 Wiley DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01492.x

Frith, H (2012) Narrating biographical disruption and repair: exploring the place of absent images in women’s experiences of cancer and chemotherapy, In: Reavey Paula (eds.), Visual Methods in Psychology: Using and Interpreting Images in Qualitative Research. Routledge DOI: 10.4324/9780203829042

Gleeson, K., Frith, H (2011) Qualitative Data Collection: Asking the Right Questions, In: Harper David, Thompson Andrew (eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health and Psychotherapy: A Guide for Students and Practitioners. Wiley DOI: 10.1002/9781119973249

Frith, H., Raisborough J., Klein, O (2010) C’mon girlfriend: Sisterhood, sexuality and the space of the benign in makeover TV, International Journal of Cultural Studies SAGE Publications DOI: 10.1177/1367877910372705

Meet the team

Research group lead

Hannah Frith profile image

Dr Hannah Frith

Principal Teaching Fellow

Research group members

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Dr Rachel Ames

Teaching Fellow

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Alex Chamberlain

Postgraduate Research Student / Trainee Clinical Psychologist

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Sharon Galiford


Paul Hanna profile image

Dr Paul Hanna

Clinical Psychology Research Director

Mary John profile image

Mary John

Head of Department of Psychological Interventions

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Dr Tom Kent

Teaching Fellow

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Lucy Longhurst

Teaching Fellow

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Dr Goran Lukic

Teaching Fellow

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Dr Jennifer Mance

Teaching Fellow

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Dr Gemma Perman

Teaching Fellow

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Dr Laura Simonds

Senior Teaching Fellow and Academic Director - Clinical Psychology Doctorate