Film shines a light on mental health research in Sussex

A new film that shines a light on mental health research has been created by students from the University of Sussex.

‘Research: It’s everyone’s business’ features staff and service users from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust talking about the variety of research projects available for people to participate in and the impact research can have on shaping local mental health services.

Sussex Partnership provides mental health, learning disability and prison health care across south east England and is one of the country’s most active mental health trusts for research.

Students Lily Beresford, Nikoline Gjoertz, Madeleine Rose Lott and Wei-Hsuan Chen,are all studying for a Masters in Filmmaking at the University of Sussex. They worked with Sussex Partnership’s research team and clinicians, as well as service users and carers, to gather stories that highlight how research helps to improve treatment of mental health illnesses and encourage people to take part in research

The studies cover all areas of mental health, including psychosis, dementia, links between brain and body and mood and anxiety. In the film, Dr Mark Hayward, Sussex Partnership’s Director of Research, explains: “The purpose of our research department is to help people learn. We use systematic methods so we can be really confident about what we’re learning. Of course, what we’ve got to learn about is how to understand mental health problems and how better to treat mental health problems because we want to improve the quality of our services and improve and enhance the experience for our service users.”

The film includes reflections from people who have taken part in research studies, including Bryan Goodenough, who was part of the award-winning Time for Dementia study with his wife, who was living with the illness. The study paired families where someone has a dementia diagnosis with medical students to help them learn more about what it’s like to live with the illness.

Student Lily Beresford, who was part of the filmmaking team from the University of Sussex, says: “When we were asked to make a film we thought it would be good to get involved to find out how the NHS works and we took it from there. We were happy to give our time for free and fit the film around our studies as we want to support the NHS. None of us knew about research before we started working with Sussex Partnership and now we want to know how we can get involved. I’ve really enjoyed it – it’s been insightful as well as fun!”

The film will have its official premiere at a special tea party on Thursday 5 July to celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday. It will take place at the Sussex Education Centre, Nevill Avenue, Hove from 2pm-4pm and everyone is welcome to come along and find out more about research.

For more information about research at Sussex Partnership call 0300 304 0088 or email There are always studies looking for participants and plenty of opportunities to get involved.

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