Professor Ben Hannigan

Professor Ben Hannigan

Professor: Mental Health Nursing

School of Healthcare Sciences

+44 (0)29 206 88567
Room 12.11, Eastgate House, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision

Career Overview

I have worked at Cardiff University (and before that, the University of Wales College of Medicine) since 1997, having left a post as a community mental health nurse in East London. I combine researching mental health systems and services with teaching across all academic levels, and over the years have maintained a steady flow of journal papers, books, book chapters, blog pieces and conference presentations.

I am an active, founding, member of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK) and am currently serving as the group's Vice Chair before becoming Chair for 2019-2020. I am a member of the International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference Committee, serving as Chair for the 2017 event which came to Cardiff on September 14th-15th. I won the Royal College of Nursing in Wales Research in Nursing Award in 2015, and joined the Health and Care Research Wales Social Care Research Award Funding Board in 2016. I am an experienced editorial board member and peer reviewer for both journals and research funding bodies.

In Cardiff I have chaired, and still serve on, School-level scientific and ethics review committees and have served as Co-Director of Postgraduate Research. I am a longstanding member of the School’s Research and Innovation Committee, and sit on the editorial board of Cardiff University Press.

Teaching Profile

I teach students on courses from pre-registration undergraduate through to professional doctorate levels, and supervise postgraduate research students.


I blog about my work (and other things) at, and tweet as @benhannigan

Education and qualifications
2006: PhD, University of Wales. Thesis title: ‘Health and social care for people with severe mental health problems: an ethnographic study’.
2000: PGCE (FE) (awarded with Distinction), University of Wales Cardiff
1998: MA Health and Social Policy (awarded with Distinction), University of North London
Dissertation title: ‘Specialist post-registration education courses for community mental health nurses: do they prepare nurses to practise in contemporary community mental health settings?’
1995: Diploma in Professional Studies in Nursing (Community Psychiatric Nursing), University of East London
1994: Certificate in Counselling Skills, Institute of Advanced Nursing Education of the RCN
1992: Registered Mental Nurse and Registered General Nurse, Princess Alexandra and Newham College of Nursing
1986: BA (Honours) Political Theory and Institutions & Sociology (class 2:1), University of Sheffield

Honours and awards

2015: Winner, Royal College of Nursing in Wales Research in Nursing Award
2006: Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales for Nursing and Allied Health Professionals
2000: Nursing Research Fellow, Smith and Nephew Foundation

Professional memberships

2016-present: Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2013-present: Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science

2003-present: Member, Mental Health Nurse Academics UK

2000-present: Lecturer/Practice Educator, Nursing and Midwifery Council

1992-present: Registered Nurse (Mental Health and Adult fields), Nursing and Midwifery Council

I am an experienced educator, and edit books and write chapters for students of the health and social care professions. For 14 years I led a full-time, post-registration, professional body-approved course for mental health nurses practising in the community. I now teach, supervise and examine at pre-registration undergraduate, taught postgraduate and doctoral levels.

My current, specific, module responsibilities are:
BN (Hons) Mental Health: Evaluation of Care (Dissertation)
MSc Advanced Practice: Health Policy and Economics
MSc Advanced Practice: Work-Based Project and Research Dissertations
Doctorate in Advanced Healthcare Practice: Working and Leading in Complex Organisations

I use ideas and methods from the health and social sciences to study mental health systems, and am recognised internationally for a research programme which has specifically addressed these interrelated areas: policy; service organisation and delivery; work, roles and values; the characteristics and wellbeing of the workforce; practitioner education; and user and carer experiences.

From the late 1990s I was part of a team (led by Professor Philip Burnard) investigating stress and burnout in mental health workers whilst my PhD (supervised by Professors Davina Allen and Philip Burnard) was an ethnographic study of the organisation and delivery of interprofessional and interagency community mental health care. As a Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales (RCBC Wales) Postdoctoral Fellow I investigated the establishment, work and impact of crisis resolution and home treatment (CRHT) services. I have since led the NIHR-funded RiSC team synthesising the evidence in the area of risk for young people using inpatient mental health services, and have been part of the NIHR-funded COCAPP and COCAPP-A teams (led by Professor Alan Simpson, City, University London) investigating care planning and care coordination in community and hospital mental health settings across England and Wales. I have also been part of the HCRW-funded Plan4Recovery team (led by Dr Michael Coffey, Swansea University) examining mental health recovery in social care settings, and am now part of the team (led by Professor Jon Bisson) investigating the use of a novel psychological therapy, 3MDR, for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Major research projects

Phase II Randomised Controlled Trial of 3MDR for Treatment Resistant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Military Veterans. Forces in Mind Trust, 2016 [Professor Jonathan Bisson (CI), Professor Robert van Deursen, Dr Neil Kitchiner, Dr Ben Hannigan, Lt Col (Retired) John Skipper]

COCAPP-A: Cross-National Comparative Study of Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care Planning in Acute Inpatient Mental Health Settings. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme, 2014 [Professor Alan Simpson (CI), Dr Michael Coffey, Dr Ben Hannigan, Alison Faulkner, Dr Aled Jones, Dr Sally Barlow, Dr Mark Haddad, Dr Karl Marlowe and Dr Jitka Všetečková]

Plan4Recovery: Assessing Mental Health Recovery, Care and Treatment Planning in Social Care. National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), now Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW), Social Care Research Award, 2013 [Dr Michael Coffey (CI), Professor Deborah Fitzsimmons, Dr Ben Hannigan, Alan Meudell and (representing Hafal) Peter Martin and Christine Wilson]

RiSC: An Evidence Synthesis of Risk Identification, Assessment and Management for Young People using Tier 4 Inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme, 2013 [Dr Ben Hannigan (CI), Dr Nicola Evans, Deborah Edwards, Professor Steven Pryjmachuk. Dr Gemma Trainor, Elizabeth Gillen and Dr Mirella Longo]

COCAPP: Cross National Comparative Study of Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care Planning and Coordination. NIHR: HS&DR Programme, 2013 [Professor Alan Simpson (CI), Dr Ben Hannigan, Dr Michael Coffey, Alison Faulkner, Dr Aled Jones and Dr Jitka Všetečková]

Mental Health Services in Transition: Examining Community Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Care. Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales for Nursing and Allied Health Professionals: Postdoctoral Fellowship [Dr Ben Hannigan (CI), Professor Davina Allen]

The Effectiveness of Clinical Supervision on Burnout amongst Community Mental Health Nurses in Wales. SONMS funded, 2002 [Professor Phillip Burnard (CI), Deborah Edwards, Ben Hannigan, Dave Coyle, Dr Anne Fothergill, John Adams, Tara Jugessur, Linda Cooper]

Health and Social Care for People with Severe Mental Health Problems: an Ethnographic Study. Smith and Nephew Foundation: Nursing Research Fellowship, 2000 [Dr Ben Hannigan (CI), Dr Davina Allen and Professor Philip Burnard]

A Systematic Review of the Effects of Stress Management Interventions for Mental Health Professionals. Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care, 200 [Professor Philip Burnard (CI), Deborah Edwards, Professor Micheal Owen, Dr Ben Hannigan, Dr Anne Fothergill and Dave Coyle]

Stress and Coping amongst Community Mental Health Nurses in Wales: a Replication of an English Study. General Nursing Council for England and Wales Trust, 1998 [Professor Philip Burnard (CI), Dr Ben Hannigan, Dave Coyle and Dr Anne Fothergill]

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the area of mental health systems and services. I am particularly interested in supervising people concerned to develop their expertise in the use of in-depth qualitative research design and methods, and in research which involves collaborations with people with lived experience of mental health difficulties.

Current supervision

Bethan Edwards

Bethan Edwards

Research student

Nicola Savory

Research student

Freda Browne

Research student

Ken Yan Wong

Research student