Research plays a central role in SANE’s work; it informs how we help people through our Services, guides our Campaigns and helps to ensure there is a greater variety of effective treatments. The dissemination of knowledge and increasing people's understanding of mental illness are two of SANE’s core aims, providing the essential structure for our Outcomes.
Our psychosocial research team focuses on the social and psychological aspects of mental illness impacting service users, carers and mental health professionals.
The research aims to advance the understanding of psychopathology by tapping into the inherent knowledge possessed by those who experience mental ill health first hand, and that of their friends and family. One of its central goals is to help develop interventions (including self-help) and care approaches that are successful, relevant and acceptable to the people they are targeted at.
The team specialises in qualitative and mixed methods research approaches. Qualitative research makes experiences and behaviours such as self-harm, suicide or attempted suicide intelligible to those who have no firsthand experience of them and who often find them incomprehensible.
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SANE founded the Prince of Wales International Centre (POWIC) for SANE Research in Oxford in 2003. Under the leadership of Professor Tim Crow, SANE is conducting a research programme into the yet unknown causes of schizophrenia and psychosis. The aim is to generate a knowledge base for novel and innovative treatments for these devastating conditions e.g. schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.
Our neuroscience researchers look for physiological causes of mental illness, specifically in psychotic conditions like schizophrenia, by studying genetics and brain chemistry.
Professor Crow says: “Together with my team we continue working on our hypothesis that psychosis including both schizophrenia and the affective psychoses is related to those distinctive aspects of the human brain which could be the best contender for explaining our faculty for language.”
The following video illustrates why research into and more understanding of severe mental illness is so necessary.