Building tools to support understanding of the links between physical and mental health


The Mental Health Research Framework ( specifically identified routine capture of mental health data in physical health studies as a critical area to address. The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) collects data on over 850,000 participants across its clinical portfolio every year in England and Wales. The vast majority of participants are from studies concerned with physical health. A significant gap in these data is the routine collection of any information about participant mental health and wellbeing.

Impact and Outcomes

  • Creation of a Core mental health Data (CMHDS) collection tool for routine use in physical health clinical trials.
  • A feasibility study is underway to test the use of the CMHDS tool in two physical health clinical studies.
  • The CMHDS is being published as Open Source software to make it accessible to other researchers.
  • An animation has been produced to explain the CMHDS in easily accessible terms.

What’s next?

  • We aim to embed the CMHDS into DATAMIND infrastructure to make it more widely available and accessible.
  • We hope this resource will deepen understanding about treatment response, risk of poor physical health outcomes and, ultimately, about mechanistic links between mental and physical health.
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