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

Profile

Biography

Professor Simon Gilbody is Director of the Mental Health & Addictions Research Group (MHARG) at the University of York, 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.

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 studied Psychology before completing 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. Simon researches in primary care, and at the interface between mental and physical health. Some recent examples of his work include:

Optimising the management of depression in the presence of long term physical ill health.

Depression often co-exists with long term health problems. Simon has shown that collaborative care is effective and efficient for older people in the UK (the NIHR CASPER+ trials). With Prof David Ekers he co-leads the NIHR MODS programme to evaluate the use of behavioural activation in the presence of multi-morbidity (2018-22).

Preventing depression for people at high risk.

A member of the Global Consortium for the Prevention of Depression, Simon led the UK CASPER trial, funded by NIHR and published the results in JAMA in 2015. He showed that depression can be prevented in older people using simple telephone-delivered behavioural activation.

Improving the physical health of people with severe mental illnesses (SMIs) such as schizophrenia.

This is the most profound health inequality, and Simon has led the first UK trials of smoking cessation (the SCIMITAR trials), and he oversees the Yorks and Humberside CLAHRC to address multi-morbidity in this population. In 2018 he will lead the £1.2M UKRI-funded ‘Closing the Gap’ Network+, which will examine innovative solutions (such as greenspace, creativity and the use of digital tech) to reduce health inequalities for people with SMI. An interventional cohort of 6000 (and counting) people – the Health and Wellbeing Cohort - underpins this work. In 2018, the MHARG work in this area was extended to South Asia, with the formaton of the NIHR IMPACT Global Trials Consortium, which Simon leads with Dr Najma Siddiqi.

As the lead for mental health research in the University of York and HYMS, Simon has generated competitive research income of £20M. Simon was an inaugural NIHR Senior Investigator (2007-2011), and serves as Deputy Chair to the NIHR Health Technology Commissioning Board. A long-standing contributor within the Cochrane Collaboration, Simon is an Editor with the Cochrane Depression Anxiety and Neurosis Group. As lead for mental health in the Yorkshire and Humberside CLAHRC, Simon oversees a programme of successful NHS-academic collaboration.

Simon is also an honorary consultant psychiatrist with Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust 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
  • MSc 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, HES and CPRD)

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

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, and these include:

The CASPER Trial: this large scale trial of telephone-delivered integrated care for older people at risk of developing depression. The results were published in JAMA and we showed that depression can be prevented. The trial was led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in Leeds, Durham and Newcastle. Commissioned by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN02202951)

The CASPER+ Trial: is a sister trial of telephone-delivered integrated care for older people with clinical depression. This was the first large-scale UK study of Collaborative Care for older people (Chief Investigator Gilbody). We showed that collaborative care is clinically and cost effective. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN45842879).

The CASPER-ISP Trial: examines the optimum method of trial recruitment using bespoke participant information leaflets (Chief investigator Dr Peter Knapp).

The REEACT 1 trial: the largest UK trial of computerised Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) for adults with depression. We showed that the uptake of computer therapy is low, and that cCBT conferred no additional benefit when added to routine primary care. The trial was led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in York, Hull, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. Commissioned by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN91947481)

The REEACT 2 trial: the largest UK trial of guided telephone support alongside computerised Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) for adults with depression. We showed that cCBT with telephone support is more effective than cCBT with telephone support. The results were published in BJPsych. Though this result may seem unsurprising, this is the first large scale demonstration of the benefit of telephone support and cCBT continues to be offered without telephone support to this day. The trial was led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in York, Hull, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN55310481)

The SCIMITAR trials: the first UK (and largest ever worldwide) trial of a specialist smoking cessation service for people with severe mental illness. The trial was led by York (Chief Investigator Gilbody), and recruited in York, Hull, Manchester. Funded by NIHR HTA (ISRCTN79497236). The pilot trial was published in Lancet Psychiatry and showed promising results. The fully-powered SCIMITAR+ trial will report in 2018/9.

Also co-instigator on; the OCTET trial of OCD (ISRCTN73535163); the COBRA trial of behavioural activation for depression (ISRCTN27473954) and the MRC CADET trial of Collaborative Care for depression (ISRCTN32829227).

Cohort studies

Closing The Gap: Health and Wellbeing Cohort. We began recruiting a large clinical cohort (n=6000 in mid 2018) of people with severe mental ill health. This unique resource examines lifestyle and health. Participants are offered the opportunity to partake in observational studies and trials of lifestyle interventions (including the SCMITAR smoking cessation trial and the NIHR DIAMONDS Programme on diabetes and SMI).

Born and Bred in Yorkshire (BABY) birth cohort. We began recruiting a large scale (n=10,000) birth cohort in York in 2012. Our main current interest is in maternal mental wellbeing and child psycho-social development (via the BABY PaNDA study CI Gilbody funded by NIHR HS&DR programme).

Research group(s)

Publications

Full publications list

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • HYMS – Psychological Medicine (Phase 1 block 6) – an introduction to the application of psychology in medicine and clinical practice. Co-lead with Dr Dean McMillan
  • HYMS – Evidence Based Decision Making (theme cluster C)
  • HYMS – Mental Health (Phase 2 block 19) – centres on the recognition and management of psychological and psychiatric illness.

Postgraduate

  • Health Sciences MSc – International Mental Health 

External activities

Memberships

Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

National and international invited lectures: 

  • World Psychiatric Association (2007); European Association of Consultation Psychiatrists (2009 & 10).
  • UK Mental Heath Research Network (2009, 2010 & 2013).
  • Keynote address British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (2013).
  • Visiting distinguished lecture McGill University 2010.

Media coverage

  • Simon’s research into the management of depression in older people (the CASPER programme) was featured in a BBC documentary ‘Inside Out’ in 2012

Simon Gilbody

Contact details

Prof. Simon Gilbody
Director of MHARG

Tel: 01904 32(1370)

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