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Mental Health Hub

Aim: to build applied health research capability and capacity to enable research-led mental health services across the lifespan in pressing areas of mental health linked to substantial health inequalities in our region.


  • Strengthening Wessex’s capacity and capability to conduct high quality mental health research in populations with high mental health burden
  • Working collaboratively with a range of organisations and the public to address current mismatch between mental health research need and evidence-based health, care, and public service response
  • Enhancing capacity and capability of mental health services to incorporate findings of research into care pathways, so improving the effectiveness, efficiency, safety and quality of mental health care and commissioning of mental health services.

How we work

The Mental Health Hub is led by Professor Sam Chamberlain and works across the ARC Wessex themes:

Our Mental Health Hub theme leads

  • Ageing  - promotion of healthy ageing by implementing and evaluating strategies to address alcohol use disorder, loneliness, and isolation.

  Workstream co-leads: Professor Julia Sinclair and Professor Jackie Bridges

  • Healthy Communities - developing, implementing and evaluating strategies to identify young people at risk of mental health conditions (including addictions like alcohol & gambling), promote early intervention and successful care transitions and bolster resilience.

  Workstream co-leads: Professor Samuele Cortese and Professor Anne-Sophie Darlington

  • Long-Term Conditions - enhancing evidence-based support for those with long term mental health disorders, like treatment-resistant anxiety and depression, and approaches to mobilising community systems of support and fostering resilience, including social prescribing.

  Workstream co-leads: Professor MC Portillo and Professor David Baldwin

  • Workforce and Health Systems - develop and test evidence-based interventions matched to staff need and the organisational and professional context, to promote mental health, wellbeing and resilience in workforce providing care and treatment to people with mental health problems.

  Workstream co-leads: Professor Jane Ball and Dr Gemma Simons

Are you interested in joining the mental health research hub? If so, please email us here

Our Post-Doctoral Fellows

Rebecca Band - Ageing

Rebecca Band - Ageing

Rebecca Band, Senior Research Fellow

Becky is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. She is a psychologist and expert in the role of interpersonal processes in health, and her research focuses on how the relationships in people’s lives are important for wellbeing, health management and health outcomes. She also has expertise in behaviour change and the development and optimisation of complex interventions. 

Becky is currently the Principal Investigator on the NIHR funded PALS project – a community based research trial exploring whether a social network intervention can help connect people who feel lonely and isolated to people and activities within their network and local community. She is also currently a co-applicant on the Research for Public Benefit funded HI-COVE project exploring the impact of long-covid black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.

George (Chao-Chi) Hong, Research Fellow

George was awarded PhD in Psychology from RMIT University, Australia, in 2021. His PhD thesis utilised quantitative, qualitative, and cross-cultural (Australia and Taiwan) research to examine factors among school-aged children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their participation in physical activity and exercise programs. At the same time, he also conducted a mixed methods research project to explore the effect of a community-based physical activity program for children with ADHD. His main research interest is employing research methods to examine the association between health-related behaviours and children with disability. In particular, how to enhance their participation in physical activity and exercise programs? He has an M.Sc. in Rehabilitation Sciences from Chang Gung University, Taiwan, which used an evidence-based research method to examine the effects of therapeutic exercise on children with ADHD for his Master's thesis. 

George (Chao-Chi) Hong - Healthy Communities

George (Chao-Chi) Hong - Healthy Communities

Skaiste Linceviciute - Long Term Conditions

Skaiste Linceviciute - Long Term Conditions

Skaiste Linceviciute, Research Fellow

Skaiste Linceviciute is a recently appointed Research Fellow in the ARC Wessex Mental Health Hub at the University of Southampton and will be contributing to new research opportunities and collaborations.

Skaiste Linceviciute has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a PhD in Health Sciences and Social Work at the University of Portsmouth. Skaiste’s PhD is about the experiences of older adults with a long-standing and a late onset asthma. Using different methods and approaches she was successful in researching people’s narratives that explored the meaning of living with asthma for older persons.
Prior to joining the ARC Wessex Mental Health Hub, Skaiste worked on a number of projects supporting different stages of research at the University of Portsmouth and the University of Westminster. Beyond academia, Skaiste has also worked in other education institutions offering pastoral and academic support to young people.

Naomi Kelpacz, Research Fellow

Naomi is a Research Fellow in the NIHR ARC Wessex Mental Health Research Hub and a member of the Health Workforce and Systems (Health Work) research group in the School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton.Naomi’s research focuses on minimising the incidence of mental ill-health in the NHS workforce by understanding how, why and in what context the healthcare workforce experience work-related mental ill-health and determining which high-quality interventions may be implemented to support mental health wellbeing.

Naomi’s current research programme with the NIHR ARC Wessex Mental Health Research Hub aims to increase understanding of the mental health needs of the multidisciplinary workforce delivering care to people with mental health needs.Naomi is particularly interested in implementation science and integrating evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies into routine healthcare. 

Naomi Kelpacz. - Workforce and Health Systems

Naomi Kelpacz. - Workforce and Health Systems