Professor Simon Gilbody
Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group (MHARG)

Profile

Biography

Professor Simon Gilbody founded and directs the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group (MHARG) at the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, and holds a joint appointment with the Hull York Medical School (HYMS), where he is a member of the Centre for Health and Population Sciences. Follow Simon @SimonGilbody and MHARG @MHARG_york

Simon is a leading health services researcher. He held a fellowship with the Medical Research Council (1996-2000) and completed his doctorate (DPhil/PhD awarded 2001) on psychometrics and outcome measurement in mental health services. His research draws upon his clinical background; having first studied Psychology before training in Medicine, Psychiatry and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Simon was awarded a personal chair (Professorship) in Psychological Medicine and Health Services Research by the University of York in 2008.

Taking a population approach to mental health, Simon conducts large epidemiological studies and clinical trials (and reviews of trials) to promote effective, efficient and equitable NHS mental health services. His work focuses on common mental health problems (such as depression and anxiety) and the promotion of physical health amongst those with severe mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia and bipolar illness).

Simon’s projects include the largest UK trials to date of collaborative care for older people with depression (the NIHR-funded CASPER trials – results expected in 2016/7) and computer-delivered CBT for depression (the NIHR-funded REEACT trials). His work on screening for depression is widely-cited and forms the evidential-basis for NHS-wide policy recommendations made by the UK National Screening Committee. His published works include a ‘citation classics’ on the management of depression in primary care (JAMA 2003), the effectiveness of collaborative care (Arch Int Med 2006), and a highly commended book (CUP 2010) on the evidential basis of primary care mental health services.

People with disorders such as schizophrenia experience some of the largest health inequalities of any section of the population (where life expectancy is reduced by 20 years) and Simon’s work seeks to reduce this health inequality.  Simon leads the SCIMITAR programme of research to enable people with SMI to reduce their dependence on nicotine and to promote smoking cessation.

As the lead for mental health research in the University of York and HYMS, Simon has generated competitive research income of £16M. Simon was an inaugural NIHR Senior Investigator (2008-2012), and has served on several funding boards within NIHR.  Simon served two terms on the NIHR HTA Clinical Evaluation Trials Board (CETB); is a current member of the HTA Efficient Study Design Board; is Deputy Chair of the NIHR HTA Evidence Synthesis Board and a long-serving member of the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) panel of expert methodologists. A long-standing contributor within the Cochrane Collaboration, Simon is an Editor with the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group.

Simon oversees the successful delivery of mental health research in Yorkshire and Humberside (popn 6.2million) as Clinical Lead for Division 4 of the Comprehensive Research Network.

As an honorary consultant psychiatrist with Tees Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV), Simon provides a specialist assessment service and psychological treatment for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in the City of York. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (elected 2009).

Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons. first class), Psychology, University of Leeds, 1989
  • MBChB Medicine and Surgery, University of Leeds, 1991
  • MMedSc Psychiatry, University of Leeds, 1995
  • Member of the Royal Collect of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych), 1995
  • DPhil/PhD Health Services Research, University of York, 2001
  • DipLSHTM Epidemiology, 2004
  • PGDip Cognitve Behaviour Therapy, University of Durham, 2005
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), elected 2009

Departmental roles

Research

Overview

Simon’s work takes a population - and primary care approach - to common mental health problems such as depression and severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Simon leads research in the following topic areas:

  • Primary care mental health
  • Brief psychological interventions (with specific interest in behavioural activation and CBT)
  • Low intensity/self-help interventions including telephone and computer-delivered psychological therapy
  • Smoking cessation in mental health
  • Screening for common mental health problems
  • Maternal mental health

Simon’s work draws upon expertise within the MHARG and uses the following research methods:

  • Pragmatic randomised controlled trials (working with the York Trials Unit)
  • Life course epidemiology
  • Psychometrics and QoL measurement
  • Mental Health economics
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses (we have a specific interest in the use of Diagnostic Test Accuracy meta-analysis in mental health)
  • Interrogation of large complex routine datasets (including IAPT, THIN and GPRD)

A major theme in Simon’s research programme is the prevention and management of long term physical health problems among people with severe mental ill health. People with disorders such as schizophrenia experience some of the largest health inequalities of any section of the population (where life expectancy is reduced by 20 years) and Simon’s work seeks to reduce this health inequality. Simon leads the SCIMITAR programme of research to enable people with SMI to reduce their dependence on nicotine and to promote smoking cessation. Read some of the early results of the SCIMITAR trial here; the results of systematic reviews here; and a joint report commissioned by the RCP/RCPsych here. The promotion of physical health for people with SMI forms the cornerstone of Simon’s contribution to the successful Yorks and Humberside Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (YH-CLAHRC). Simon helped to establish the MHARG-led Diabetes and Mental Illness: Improving Outcomes and Services (DIAMONDS) collaborative on the management of diabetes for people with SMI.

Simon has also nurtured exciting research in MHARG to interrogate large complex datasets (CPRD and IAPT) to map the quality and outcomes of care, and to test causation, outcomes and effectiveness in mental illness. He collaborates with colleagues in CHE, and the York Health Services & Policy Group. With colleagues he has recently helped map the impact of the GP QOF on physical care for people with severe mental illness, and demonstrated that there is an ‘inverse care law’ in NHS psychological therapy services. This approach is currently being used in the care of people with SMI and diabetes in the DIAMONDS programme (led by Dr Najma Siddiqi).

Projects

Simon is Chief Investigator and co-investigator on the following publicly-funded projects. There are links to each of these projects if you would like to find out more:

Trials

  • MHARG and the York Trials Unit (YTU) have delivered some of the largest trials in mental health services research.  We have formed a large older peoples’ cohort (the over 65s CASPER cohort). Members of this cohort are offered the opportunity to partake in large scale pragmatic trials.
  • The CASPER Trial: this is a large scale trial of telephone-delivered integrated care for older people with low-severity depression or those at risk of developing depression. The trial is led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in Leeds, Durham and Newcastle. Commissioned by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN02202951). Results in 2016.

  • The CASPER+ Trial is a sister trial of telephone-delivered integrated care for older people with clinical depression. This is the first large-scale UK study of Collaborative Care for older people (Chief Investigator Gilbody) and recruited in Leeds, Durham and Newcastle. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN45842879). Results in 2017.
  • The SHARD Trial investigates the effectiveness of very low intensity behavioural activation to prevent the onset of depression amongst older people at high risk. (ISRCTN95270332).  Results in 2017.
  • The REEACT 1 trial: the largest UK trial of computerised Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) for adults with depression. The trial was led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in York, Hull, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. Commissioned by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN91947481). We have shown that technically-supported cCBT is not effective when added to usual GP care.
  • The REEACT 2 trial: the largest UK trial of guided telephone support alongside computerised Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) for adults with depression. The trial is led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruits in York, Hull, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN55310481).  Results in 2016.
  • The SCIMITARplus trial: the SCIMITARplus trial: the first UK trial of a specialist smoking cessation service for people with severe mental illness. The trial is led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruits in York, Hull, Manchester and London. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN72955454).  Read the results of our pilot SCIMITAR trial in this area here.

Cohort studies

Other

Research group(s)

Available PhD research projects

  • Smoking in Severe Mental Ill Health
  • The delivery of brief psychological therapies

Supervision

Simon is interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas: smoking cessation and improving the health/healthcare of people with severe mental ill health; analysis of complex datasets (IAPT and CPRD).

Publications

Full publications list

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • HYMS – Psychological Medicine – an introduction to the application of psychology in medicine and clinical practice. Co-lead with Dr Dean McMillan.
  • HYMS – Mental Health (Phase 2) – the management of psychological and psychiatric illness.

External activities

Memberships

Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

Simon regularly speaks about his research and has recently delivered the following talks:

Media coverage

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Contact details

Prof. Simon Gilbody
Director of MHARG

Tel: 01904 32(1370)

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