About the Psychosis HIT

The Psychosis Health Integration Team (HIT) is a team of people who experience psychosis, their families and carers, academics, mental health professionals, commissioners, service providers and other experts, working together to improve the lives of people with psychosis in Bristol.

The Psychosis HIT will hear from people who experience psychosis, their families and carers and those of staff in mental health services and other settings in order to improve services across the city.

Psychosis provides a clear example of the lack of parity between mental and physical health. It is also not clear what the most effective treatments are to help people with a psychotic disorder, partly because of a historical lack of funding for mental health research.

People with a serious mental illness have a right to a quality of life that is on a par with the healthy population. Unfortunately there is little evidence that this is true at present. People with psychosis are very likely to be socially excluded, unemployed and have a shorter life expectancy due to poor physical health than the general population. They are also likely to experience a relapse within the first three years after diagnosis.

All the major political parties have recently announced that mental health will be at the centre of their health policies, encouraging us to think that the future could be more promising. With the Psychosis HIT, Bristol can lead the way in ensuring that this disadvantaged group of people can have a better quality of life.

Aims and objectives

The Psychosis HIT aims to improve the support, treatment, services and lives of people with psychosis in the Bristol area. It aims to make Bristol a national leader in the innovation of psychosis services, support and treatment.

It has five specific aims:

  1. To develop a better understanding of psychosis and how best to help people
  2. To make it easier to access help
  3. To improve the experience of being in hospital
  4. To improve access to psychological therapies
  5. To improve employment opportunities

Who’s involved

Some of the leading experts in psychosis in Bristol are part of the Psychosis Health Integration Team. The HIT is led by four directors:

  • Dr Sarah Sullivan, Research Fellow, the Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol
  • Dr Simon Downer, Consultant Psychiatrist, Bristol Mental Health (Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership) and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol
  • Dr Martin Jones, Chair, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group
  • James Robinson, peer director, representing services users and carers

Find out more about who’s involved.

How patients and the public are involved

The Psychosis HIT aims to involve service users, carers and the public at all stages of the development and operation of the HIT. The HIT management team will include a peer director or directors, who will represent services users and their families and carers, as well as supporting and advising on the patient and public involvement (PPI) activity in the HIT.

The nature of psychosis means that service users may find ongoing project involvement challenging. The team therefore aims to have a pool of service users and carers who will be mentored by Rosie Davies, a Research Fellow who supports involvement in the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (CLAHRC West) and Mike Bell, the Health Integration Teams PPI Facilitator, who has a special interest in involving young service users in research. This is important because most service users experience their first psychotic episode in their late teens or early 20s.

This PPI model will be tested by interviewing service users and carers about their experiences of being involved with the HIT which will inform future PPI work. An initial PPI event was held on 21 May 2015, and comments made by service users and carers at that event have led to amendments to existing work streams, and the addition of new work streams to the HIT’s plans.

The team also plans to hold an annual PPI event where the achievements of each work stream and future plans for the HIT will be discussed.

Projects and activities

The Psychosis Health Integration Team has eight work streams that it will focus on:

  1. Employment
  2. Hospitalisation
  3. Physical health
  4. Care pathways
  5. Trauma
  6. Families and networks
  7. More caring crisis response
  8. Staff health

Find out more about the Psychosis HIT’s projects and activities.


To find out more, please contact:

Psychosis at the HIT conference

The Psychosis HIT presented this poster (PDF) at the 2018 Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team conference.