Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award for innovative partnership ‘Mental Health and Justice’ awarded to Dr Hanna Kienzler and colleagues

Hanna Kienzler and colleagues have won a £2.5M Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Science entitled “Mental Health and Justice”.

To promote the collaboration and give a voice to those who were unable to be at the Wellcome Trust interview the team created this video to highlight the key elements of the research.


Dr Hanna Kienzler

Mental Health and Justice is a unique collaboration between the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), The Dickson Poon School of Law, Global Health and Social Medicine, The Essex Autonomy Project, King’s Policy Institute, and public engagement partner Bethlem Gallery and Museum. The PI on the project is Dr. Gareth Owen (IoPPN) and co-applicants include Dr Hanna Kienzler (Department of Global Health & Social medicine), Professor Tony David (IoPPN), Dr Jill Craigie (Dickson Poon School of Law), and Professor Wayne Martin (School of Philosophy, University of Essex).

Dr. Gareth Owen says: ‘This award from the Wellcome Trust opens up hugely exciting possibilities in interdisciplinary research. We have been building research collaborations with the Law School over some years and they have come to wonderful fruition with this award which also adds new collaborators in experimental psychology, anthropology and philosophy. I’m delighted and looking forward enormously to leading on this project.

The research will address the central dilemma in mental health, ethics and law: the tension between protecting and respecting a person’s decision making. As law in this area commits to human rights and as the international dimension presses, sharp new challenges are arising. The project focuses on two fundamental concepts – support in decision-making and decision-making ability. Within this framework, Hanna Kienzler’s work stream will investigate what it means for persons with mental health problems to live independently and being included in the community in Ghana, the occupied Palestinian territories and the UK. This will involve the application of ethnographic, philosophical and legal approaches to examine concepts such as “independence”, “community” and “support” across socio-cultural contexts and examine how barriers and resources impact on the ability of individuals to access adequate support and to live in their communities. The emerging data will form the basis for innovative outcomes including the development of research methods and actions to advance inclusion of persons with mental disorders in the community and sophisticated application of ethnographic research methods to a significant question in public health and policy, creating a precedent for future research directions.

Overall, the collaboration involves leading clinical experts, lawyers, philosophers, neuroscientists and social scientists in a research network that will be delivering practical guidelines, enhancing policy engagement, advancing interdisciplinary working and developing innovation in service-user involvement in research and public engagement.

Mental Health and Justice will build an outstanding network in the field of mental health, ethics and law for the next decade, and will provide new solutions to a vexed dilemma facing society, healthcare and law.


This entry was posted in Bioethics, Global Health & Social Justice, Mental Health and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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