Helen Brooks

Helen Brooks, PhD. MRes BSc


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Personal profile


Helen is a Senior Lecturer and head of the Mental Health Research Group in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. She is the Programme Director for the Masters in Clinical Research and also contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching with a focus on research methods.


Helen obtained her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2013 which explored perceptions of recovery and prognosis from the perspective of people with long-term physical conditions and was the first study to examine the utility and transferability of mental health recovery models for this population.

Her work has contributed significantly to the body of evidence demonstrating the value of networks in the management of chronic conditions and, in particular, the role of companion animals in this regard. Her lead authored creature comforts paper was included in material sent to the Joint Select Committee on the Care and Support Bill and the paper along with its policy implications, was quoted in the House of Lords by Lord Black.

She has significant experience of leading and providing co-applicant input into externally funded and commissioned research in the UK and globally. She is co-Principal Investigator on a NIHR Global Health Research Group supporting sustainable care for anxiety and depression in Indonesia and work package and PPI lead on an NIHR Right Call programme of research to co-adapt an evaluate a rehabilitation intervention for burns survivors in Pakistan. She is also co-applicant on a number of additional NIHR and MRC funded studies (including NIHR PGfAR Prospect, NIHR NIHR PGfAR EQUIty, MRC FUSION) providing qualitative and process evaluation expertise. 

She is an Associate Editor for BMC Health Services Research and Frontiers in Health Services. She was an NIHR RfPB panel member until 2023 and is and trustee and research working group lead for the Society of Companion Animal Studies. 

Helen is also the primary supervisor for two current PhD students (Emily Vicary: The role of social support for wellbeing in higher education students and Aditya Kurniawan: the experience of lay community workers in delivering low-intensity psychological interventions in Indonesia) and co-supervisor on a further four PhDs with two additional students starting their studies in September 2024 (one primary supervisor).


BSc (Hons), MRes, PhD, Certificate in Professional Studies in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Research interests

Helen's research interests include the role of social networks in the management of chronic conditions and the co-design and implementation of complex interventions designed to improve health experiences. She has a particular interest in process evaluations and co-designing and co-adapting interventions with services users, their families and local communities. Current projects are being undertaken in the UK, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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