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Professor Ben Hannigan

Professor Ben Hannigan

Professor: Mental Health Nursing and Director of Postgraduate Research

+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.

Within Cardiff University I am a longstanding member of the School of Healthcare Sciences' Research and Innovation Committee, and am currently serving as the School's Director of Postgraduate Research having previously served as co-lead of the School's Optimising Service Delivery and Organisation research theme. I am a member of the editorial board of Cardiff University Press, and of the Press' Monograph Commissioning Panel.

I am an active, founding, member of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK) and served as the group's elected Chair for 2019-2020 and as elected Vice Chair for 2017-2018. I have recently concluded a term as a member of the International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference Committee, serving as Chair for the 2017 event which came to Cardiff and as Chair for the 25th running of this event which took place in London in September 2019.

I won the Royal College of Nursing in Wales Research in Nursing Award in 2015, and having served on the Health and Care Research Wales Social Care Research Award Funding Board from 2016 am now a member of the All Wales Prioritisation Panel and the Social Care Fellowship Panel. I am a member of the National Centre for Mental Health Partnership in Research (PÂR) group, which exists to create opportunities for mental health service users, carers and researchers to work together. I am an experienced editorial board member and peer reviewer for both journals and research funding bodies.

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
2003-present: Member, Mental Health Nurse Academics UK
2000-present: Lecturer/Practice Educator, Nursing and Midwifery Council





























I am an experienced educator and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 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: Public Health, Health Economics and Policy
MSc Advanced Practice: Dissertation (Empirical Research)

I use ideas and methods from the health and social sciences to study mental health systems. Projects I have led or contributed to have 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, now at King's College 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 Professor Michael Coffey, Swansea University) examining mental health recovery in social care settings, and the FiMT-funded team (led by Professor Jon Bisson) investigating the use of a novel psychological therapy, 3MDR, for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. I led the MENLOC study, an NIHR-funded evidence synthesis in the area of end of life care for people with severe mental illness, and was part of the NIHR CAMH Crisis team led by Dr Nicola Evans which synthesised the evidence in the area of crisis care responses for children and young people. I have worked on an NIHR-funded project, led by Dr John Green, which is learning lessons from the health and wellbeing response to the Grenfell Tower Fire and on a systematic review (led Dr Alison Weightman) focusing on case management for people who are homeless. In my most recent project I am co-leading, with Dr Clare Bennett, an investigation into the provision of mental health crisis care for children and young people.

Major research projects

CAMH-Crisis2: Crisis Care for Children and Young People with Mental Health Problems: National Mapping, Models of Delivery, Sustainability and Experience. National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR): Health and Social Care Delivery (HSDR) Research Programme, 2022 [Professor Ben Hannigan (co-CI), Dr Clare Bennett (co-CI), Professor Aled Jones, Dr Martin Elliott, Professor Steven Pryjmachuk, Dr Nicola Evans, Mair Elliott, Claire Fraser, Professor Euan Hails and Iain McMillan]

Exploring the Effect of Case Management in Homelessness per Components: a Systematic Review of Effectiveness and Implementation, with Meta-Analysis and Thematic Synthesis. Centre for Homelessness Impact, 2021 [Dr Alison Weightman (CI), Mala Mann, Lydia Searchfield, Delyth Morris, Dr Ian Thomas, Simone Willis, Rhiannon Cordiner, Dr Robin Smith, Professor Ben Hannigan and Dr Mark Kelson]

The MILL Study: Lessons from the Health and Wellbeing Response to the Grenfell Tower Fire: a Multi-Methods Approach. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, 2021 [Dr John Green (CI), Professor Subhash Pokhrel, Hilary Watt, Dr Chris Brewin, Professor Jonathan Bisson, Professor Ben Hannigan, Dr Sarah Elkin, Professor William Yule, Dr Jason Strelitz, David Bailey, Dr Robyn Fairman and Natasha Elcock]

CAMH Crisis: Crisis Responses for Children and Young People: an Evidence Synthesis of Service Organisation, Effectiveness and Experiences. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme, 2020 [Dr Nicola Evans (CI), Dr Rhiannon Lane, Dr Judith Carrier, Professor Ben Hannigan, Liz Williams, Mair Elliott and Deborah Edwards]

MENLOC: End of Life Care for People with Severe Mental Illness: an Evidence Synthesis). National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme, 2018 [Professor Ben Hannigan (CI), Dr Sally Anstey, Professor Michael Coffey, Deborah Edwards, Dr Paul Gill, Mala Mann, Alan Meudell and Roger Pratt]

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 (HSDR) 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 (HSDR) 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. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HSDR) 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, 2006 [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, 2000 [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 an experienced supervisor and examiner of postgraduate research degrees, and am committed to growing research capacity and capability in nursing and the wider health and social care professions.

I welcome research degree applications from potential students sharing my interests in understanding and improving mental health systems and services. These include: studies set in prevailing policy and organisational contexts, and which make connections between the ‘macro’, the ‘meso’ and the ‘micro’; projects which focus on the work and experiences of practitioners, service users and carers; and research which investigates the provision and receipt of care across organisational and professional boundaries. I am particularly keen to hear from people aiming to develop their expertise in the use of in-depth qualitative research design and methods, and in research which involves meaningful collaborations with people with lived experience of mental health difficulties. I am also happy to hear from people interested in mixed methods studies, where co-supervision can support both qualitative and quantitative investigation.

Current supervision

Gavin John

Research student

Mudzamiri, Glen

Glen Mudzamiri

Research student

Fawaz Alrasheedi

Fawaz Alrasheedi

Research student


Savanna Leigh Cole

Research student

Hamza Jaber

Research student

Past projects

Bethan Edwards, PhD, 2022: A window of opportunity: describing and developing an evidence, theory, and practice-informed occupational therapy intervention for people living with early-stage dementia

Fortune Mhlanga, Doctorate in Advanced Healthcare Practice, 2022: Implementing recovery-oriented practice in mental health services: a qualitative case study

Nicola Savory, PhD, 2020: Perinatal mental health: a mixed methods study

Freda Browne, Doctorate in Nursing, 2018: A realist evaluation of a safe medication administration education programme in the Republic of Ireland

Ken Wong, PhD, 2018: Collaborative reflection: an exploration of its potential in pre-qualification occupational therapy education

Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, PhD, 2017: Factors affecting body weight in boys in grade 6 in Makkah, Saudi Arabia: a comparative case study

Jane Davies, PhD, 2016: The fluctuation of agency in teenagers and young adults with cancer

Pauline Tang, Doctorate in Nursing, 2016: Multidisciplinary team members’ use of the electronic patient record system within one emergency medical assessment unit

Mohammad Marie, PhD, 2015: Resilience of nurses who work in community mental health workplaces in West Bank, Palestine

Maria Leontari, MPhil, 2013: Maternity care and postnatal depression in Greece: an ethnographic study

Shu-Jen Chen, PhD, 2011: ‘Self-awareness’ and ‘the therapeutic use of self’ perceived by nurses who conduct community psychiatric nursing care in Taiwan