The Psychosis Research Unit (PRU) is a joint project between Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester. PRU was formed in 2008 by Tony Morrison and Paul French. It has grown to the point where there are usually 20-30 staff working across numerous clinical trials (both single site and multi-centre).
Here at The Psychosis Research Unit we promote a normalising approach to understanding psychosis. We believe experiences and beliefs commonly regarded as symptoms of psychosis are often highly understandable reactions to adverse life events. Our primary aim is to develop ways of reducing the distress of people with these experiences, as well as developing ways of restoring their autonomy and dignity. We have a strong emphasis on the involvement of service users and people with lived experience of psychosis in the development of research questions and in the design, conduct and dissemination of research studies, including clinical trials. This is achieved by employing research staff with lived experience as service user researchers as well as via our Service User Reference Group, which provides consultation on these aspects of research.
The key themes of our research focus on early intervention and prevention of psychosis and other serious mental health problems (such as bipolar disorder), the reduction of both public and internalised stigma, prejudice and discrimination regarding psychosis, the promotion of evidence-based treatment choices for people with psychosis and the promotion of recovery in terms that are meaningful to people with psychosis.
Most of the research we are involved in here at The Psychosis Research Unit centres on the development and evaluation of psychosocial approaches to achieving the goals outlined above. However, we have developed collaborations with Ziggy’s Wish to explore the potential for art, multimedia and technology to achieve these goals.
We also conduct research that examines the role of exercise in the treatment of psychosis and the promotion of physical health in people with psychosis. Finally, we have a role in the training and supervision of psychological therapists and other mental health professionals working with people with psychosis and people at risk of developing serious mental health problems.