Research and projects

PSSRU's research covers many areas across social and health care, including mental health. Evidence has been provided to underpin developments in policy discussions and practice. Key areas include:

Children and Young People's Services

PSSRU's research programme in the area of children, young people and families has included research on support and treatment for people with anorexia nervosa, effective treatments for people with neurodevelopmental disorders, the effectiveness of parenting programmes. A large study is currently exploring the benefits and potential cost savings of early years’ prevention as part of The Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives initiative, as well as another on troubled families.


Dementia is now a major area of research within PSSRU. A number of studies have determined the costs of dementia, the outcomes and cost implications of making better use of treatment and support from unpaid carers. Others have evaluated, or are evaluating, evidence-based interventions, such as goal-orientated cognitive rehabilitation of early-stage Alzheimer's disease and individual cognitive stimulation therapy. A large study is currently underway which is modelling the costs and outcomes of interventions for people with dementia and their carers. More information here.

Long-term Care

PSSRU's work on projections of demand and analyses of funding for care and support arrangements continues to grow. This has involved the development of a suite of long-term care finance projection models, including the UK's first dynamic microsimulation model of the social care system. These models have been used to generate projections and explore funding and other options for a number of policy and practice purposes. Research has also been undertaken on funding for younger adults with long-term conditions and how private long-term care insurance can supplement state systems, and is underway on care and support for older people living within the community.

Mental Health Economics and Policy

A collection of complimentary studies have been undertaken in the area of mental health economics and policy. A number of studies have focused on the economic costs of autism, schizophrenia and psychosis, perinatal health, depression and mental health promotion and prevention. Other research has explored the cost-effectiveness of different interventions for (e.g.) youth mental health, depression, anxiety. Earlier research focused on the economics of institutional closure, mental health promotion strategies for children, and strategies in the workplace for older people.

Social Care Service Evaluation and Economics

PSSRU has particular expertise conducting economic evaluations on social care and mental health (and increasingly also in other health care areas). Research has been undertaken on the cost-effectiveness of care and support services (such as telecare and telehealth, coping strategies for family carers of people with dementia, befriending), funding arrangements (such as personal budgets), organisational arrangements (such as community navigators) and preventive strategies (such as for child neglect and abuse, and for falls).

Unpaid Care

A significant strand of PSSRU's research focuses on unpaid care. Research has been undertaken on unpaid care supply for older people, employment issues faced by carers, the costs of caring for people with dementia, coping strategies for carers, and the visibility of carers. Further work is underway on unpaid carers exploring factors influencing informal care supply, complementarity and substitutability between unpaid care and health and social care services, financial and wellbeing implications of providing care for unpaid carers, and replacement care.