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Stephen Puntis

DPhil; BSc (Hons)

Post-doctoral Research Assistant

My research is primarily focused on the complex relationship between providers of mental health services and the people who use them. Whilst mental health treatments are effective for many, these treatments occur within the social world. This social environment in which treatment is given can drastically alter whether it succeeds or fails. My research uses a variety of methods to try and understand how the structure of mental health services and the pathways people take through these services might improve patients’ outcomes. I have so far focused on three areas of research: evaluating clinical and social interventions which have been implemented in the real world, improving continuity of care for patients within and across the boundaries of health and social care; and the integration of medical and psychiatric care.

My current research investigates the effectiveness of Early Intervention in Psychosis services. The early intervention paradigm focuses on both detecting the early signs of psychotic illness and giving effective treatment for those who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. The use of specialist early intervention services as a treatment approach has expanded rapidly both in the UK and internationally. I aim to investigate how people using the service experience it and the effect of these services on long term outcomes. I will do this using longitudinal quantitative databases and qualitative approaches.

Previously I was part of the research team for the Oxford Community Treatment Order Evaluation Trial (OCTET), which tested the effectiveness of a 2008 amendment to the Mental Health Act that allowed patients to be treated against their will outside hospital ('Community Treatment Orders' CTOs). My PhD thesis formed part of OCTET and examined the relationship between continuity of care, CTOs and clinical outcomes in people with psychosis.

I have also worked with Psychological Medicine Research Group, led by Professor Michael Sharpe examining survival in patients with cancer and depression.

I arrived in Oxford in 2011 to work as a research assistant on the OCTET trial. Before that, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Manchester.

Recent publications