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The VIP Project: Vital Interventions for Psychosis


The VIP Project aims to help people with psychosis, their families and clinicians collaborate to identify the most important issues for research in this area.

The VIP Project joined people with psychosis, their families and clinicians to collaborate and identify the most important issues for research for people experiencing psychosis for the first time and those accessing early intervention teams.

Early intervention in psychosis has been a growing research area for the past three decades and there is now greater understanding than ever before of how illness develops and its impact.

There are also a number of gaps in what we know about how illnesses evolve, how different interventions and services work and more importantly, what the users of these services think of them.

We were interested in whether research evidence is available to answer the most important questions facing service-users and deliverers.

What we did

During 2017 and 2018, we conducted two national surveys online, asking people what were their most important questions. Once gathered, we spent 248 hours searching 5 key healthcare databases and found there was not enough evidence to consider these questions answered.

We then brought together a group of service-users, carers, healthcare professionals, researchers, academics, policy advisors and implementation managers to decide on the 10 priorities; the questions people thought needed to be answered most.

These are the final 10 priorities;

  • What are the information needs of people with first-episode psychosis and can this help access treatment?
  • How can families be enabled to recognise the early signs of psychosis or attenuated symptoms and seek help early?
  • What interventions are effective in reducing adverse childhood experiences linked with later onset of psychosis?
  • What are service-users beliefs about the effectiveness of different forms of treatment?
  • What are patient’s priorities for treatment following a first-episode psychosis?
  • Can effective school-based preventive programmes be implemented to detect emerging psychosis?
  • What has been the impact of new waiting time standards on patient care, staff efficiency and overall service morale?
  • What interventions promote participation in everyday life following a first-episode of psychosis?
  • In what ways can healthcare professionals promote self-management following first-episode psychosis?
  • What influences recovery following first-episode psychosis?

Get updated

If you would like any information on the work we did, our searches, the search strategy or the evidence summary from any of the 259 questions that were posed by the public please email:

Researcher pouring suspension into a flask

Meet the Steering Group

Our Steering Group defines the scope of the project. They have guided the development of research questions and the survey above.

They are also helping us find ways to deliver this survey to the most relevant people so that we can identify a list of priorities for research.


Service-user representatives

Dr David Shiers

Dr David Shiers

David is a GP and carer representative. He is an honorary consultant at the Psychosis Research Unit and honorary reader in early psychosis at The University of Manchester.

He qualified in medicine in 1974 before becoming a GP in North Staffordshire.  His interest in mental health developed from personal involvement as a carer for his daughter from the mid-1990s.

Derived from what he felt was lacking in his daughter’s early experiences of care David made a substantial career change to co-lead the UK’s National Early Intervention in Psychosis Programme. 

He continues to challenge why people with psychosis should accept poor physical health, participating in relevant NICE guideline and quality standards.  David was awarded the OBE in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to vulnerable people.

Mr Andrew Grundy

a Grundy

Andrew Grundy is a Mental Health Research Associate in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham.

He began research training on a pioneering master's-level Research Methods and Design training course run by The University of Manchester, which was funded by an NIHR Programme Development Grant and aimed to equip service users and carers with skills to aid their involvement in research.

Andrew has since provided similar training for service users and carers at the Recovery College and at the Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham.

Currently, Andrew is a co-investigator on an NIHR Funded Programme Grant of £1.9 million to run the five-year EQUIP research programme focusing on enhancing the quality of user involved care planning in mental health services. He is also a valuable member of the research priorities team. Andrew has lived experience of psychosis and is an expert by experience.


Clinical representatives

Professor Paul French

 Paul French

Paul is clinical lead for early intervention in psychosis services across Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust.

Paul has worked as a mental health nurse within the NHS since 1986 in inpatient, community and psychological therapy services, predominantly working with people experiencing psychosis and psychotic related disorders.

Nationally, his work has contributed to NICE guidelines for early intervention in psychosis services and he sits on the National Adult Mental Health Delivery Group and was formerly a member of the National Expert Reference Group for the Access and Waiting Times Standards for Psychosis.

Mr Norman Young

Norman Young

Norman is a nurse consultant with the Royal College of Nursing and clinical lead for early intervention in psychosis in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

He started mental health nurse training in 1991 after studying Biochemistry and Psychology at Keele University. Since 1999 he has held joint positions with Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale UHB and developed undergraduate and post graduate teaching programmes for mental health practitioners and other health and social care staff.

He has extensive experience in service improvement and service evaluation of acute adult inpatient mental health care and community services and is a founding cohort participant in the Health Foundation’s Q Initiative.

He has been the chief investigator to an evaluation of an intervention aimed at reducing violence in inpatient care and was the nurse adviser to the NICE guideline for schizophrenia and psychosis.

Dr Joanne Inman

Dr Joanne Inman

Dr Joanne Inman, affiliated to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Royal College of Occupational Therapists - Mental Health. Edge Hill University.

She recently completed her PhD, which explored occupational therapy and participation in activities of everyday life for people with a diagnosis of psychosis.

She has worked in a range of mental health clinical settings and also as a lecturer/practitioner in this country and Tanzania, Africa.

She is part of a newly-developing nationwide occupational therapy and mental health research group. In this project she will be the link between the VIP study and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section Mental Health.

Dr Claire Seddon

Claire Seddon

Claire is a consultant clinical psychologist in Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust working across both early intervention and community services.

She has worked in mental health services for twenty years and works to promote a psychological and social understanding of mental health difficulties as well as aiming to increase access to psychological interventions for psychosis.

She is trained in a number of psychological approaches including cognitive behaviour therapy for psychosis (CBTp) and cognitive analytic therapy (CAT). She is specifically interested in promoting approaches that help to understand a person’s distress in the context of their lives and relationship histories.

Mr Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson

Ian is a mental health nurse and nurse specialist in dual diagnosis at the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. He is also a clinical teaching fellow at The University of Manchester.

He has a particular interest in the application of evidence based interventions for people with a first onset of psychosis and for people with complex mental health needs and substance misuse problems. He works with carers of ‘dually diagnosed’ clients and provides training for a wide range of workers who come into contact with clients exhibiting complex needs.

Mr Mike Fitzsimmons

Mike Fitzsimmons

Mike is the clinical lead for early intervention in psychosis services in Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and is a teaching fellow at The University of Manchester.

He qualified as a mental health nurse in 1990, working in a number of community settings. Over the past fifteen years Mike has worked as a psychological therapist working mainly with people with first-episode psychosis.

Mike has provided psychological therapies in a number of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of psychological interventions for people with co-occurring psychosis and substance use, social recovery in psychosis, and suicide prevention for people with psychosis.

He is currently completing a PhD exploring disengagement with treatment and services for people with first-episode psychosis.

Ms Sophie Hodge


Sophie Hodge holds an MA (Oxon) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.

She is Programme Manager of the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) Network at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which creates standards for EIP services in the UK.

EIP Network runs the annual EIP self-assessment and developmental review network.

Project organisation committee

Dr Laoise Renwick, Project Lead

Laoise Renwick

Laoiseis a lecturer in mental health at The University of Manchester and is project lead for the VIP study.

She has spent many years conducting research on the consequences of delays in getting help for psychosis, including quality of life, achieving symptom remission and recovery of functioning.

She is also interested in improving patient-centred outcomes and enhancing research capacity among nurses to provide the best evidence to support service delivery for people with psychosis.

She is an active member of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK and is the current Scientific Chair for the Royal College of Nursing’s 23rd International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference.

Dr Susan Ramsdale, Co-facilitator

Dr Susan Ramsdale

Susan is a senior lecturer and mental health field lead at The University of Manchester. She is co-facilitator on the VIP study.

She qualified as a mental health nurse in 1996 and worked across the North West in a range of acute and crisis care settings before beginning a career in nurse education in 2003.

She was responsible for developing the first mental health crisis response service in Lancashire in 1999. In 2007 she became involved in developing and delivering the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) curriculum.

Susan has recently successfully completed a professional doctorate in education and is also chair of Lancashire Women’s Centres, an award winning charity which provides a range of services for women including projects to support female offenders, victims of domestic abuse and sex workers, together with a range of IAPT services for the wider population.

Data specialist

Ms Olivia Schaff


Olivia is an assistant librarian at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

She has been a qualified librarian since 2006, having obtained her degree in Library and Information Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

An example of her duties includes mediated literature searches and database training, as well as the acquisition of new stock.

Recently she has helped coordinate a team providing systematic literature searches in support of Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) for Primary Care and Endometriosis.


To learn more contact:

Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work
tel: +44 (0)161 306 7833