Primary Care Mental Health Conference Weds 25th May 2022, Manchester

Primary care is the first point of contact for people experiencing mental health problems, and high quality research into this area remains a huge priority. The Primary Care Mental Health (PCMH) research conference has run for a number of years now, and has for the last couple of years been supported by SAPC and the Mental Health Special Interest Group.

On Wednesday 25th of May 2022, our team at the University of Manchester were delighted to (virtually) host this year's SAPC PCMH research conference, with the theme of ‘Quality, Safety and Effectiveness’ . We welcomed 95 delegates from dozens of universities and were delighted to welcome 4 public contributors.

Professor Nav Kapur has opened the conference. As many of you know, Nav has just chaired delivery of the updated NICE guideline for depression, so knows more than anyone about the need for improving quality and safety of mental health services in primary care, and the contribution made by mental health research in primary care.

The programme of the day consisted of three 1-hour research sessions. Session themes were ‘Effectiveness and improvement’, ‘Quality and Safety’ and ‘Equality, Diversity and Social Inclusion’. Each session included keynote talk (30 minutes) followed by seven elevator pitches led mostly by early career researchers (ECRs). Despite the pressure of these rapid pitches, we were delighted by the quality and diversity of the work presented – which suggests that primary care mental health is in good hands for the future.

The audience were treated to three high quality keynotes.  Prof Simon Gilbody  talked about 'Trials in the time of COVID', outlining the BASIL trial on mitigation of social isolation and loneliness  which was deemed important enough to be badged as ‘Urgent Public Health’.Research.  In line with the focus on safety, Prof Glenys Parry gave a master-class in ‘Understanding and Preventing Adverse Effects of Psychological Therapies’, a topic of high importance which has not always received the attention it deserves - and where Glenys and colleagues have done ground breaking work.  Finally, Dr Gemma Lewis presented on 'Maintenance or Discontinuation of Antidepressants in Primary Care: the findings and practical implications of the ANTLER trial',  one of the most impressive and impactful trials in this area for many years.

Of course, patients should be at the heart of research into primary care mental health, and the final part of the PCMH 2022 included talks by Mr Manoj Mistry, an experienced PPI contributor and member of the PRIMER (Primary Care Research in Manchester Engagement Resource) and Dr Andrew Grundy, a researcher with lived experience of mental health problems who has co-led several mental health safety projects within the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. Prof Carolyn Chew Graham (Keele University and Chair of SAPC until July 2022) gave a concise and convincing talk about ‘Why join SAPC?’, which emphasised the importance of SAPC as a community supporting academics working in primary care research.

The elevator pitch presentations were judged by two PPI contributors and we were pleased to award prizes to:

Dr Heidi Stevens & Katie Webb from the University of York for their presentation on ‘Behavioural Activation for Low Mood and Anxiety in Male Frontline NHS Workers’

Dr Claire Carswell from University of York for her presentation on ‘Severe mental illness and long-term conditions: A qualitative exploration of service user, carer, and healthcare professional experiences’

Dr Aaron Poppleton from Keele University for his presentation on ‘How have Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine affected Central and Eastern Europeans in the UK?’


We would like to thank all those involved in PCMH 2022, especially our hard-working organising committee - Dr Cathy Morgan, Dr Alex Hodkinson, Dr Natasha Tyler, Dr Claire Planner, Dr Dalia Tsimpida, Dr Amy Blakemore and Dr Helen Brooks.



We look forward to the SAPC PCMH 2023? Which will be hosted by our colleagues in the University of Bristol.

Thank you,

Professor Peter Bower and Dr Maria Panagioti, Centre for Primary Care and Health Services Research, University of Manchester