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Sarah Sowden

Sarah Sowden is the Chief Investigator and is an Advanced Clinical Academic fellow (Newcastle University) and Consultant in Public Health (OHID, Newcastle-upon-Tyne).  

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Award Title: Mental Health Practitioner Evaluation Scheme

Start Date: 1 February 2022

End Date: 30 June 2024

Project Title: Mental health IN the Deep EnD (MINDED) Pilot Evaluation: Embedding new models of mental health care in primary care. 

Brief Summary: 

Mental ill-health concerns feature in a third of GP appointments and research suggests many GPs’ high workloads prevent them from providing good-quality mental health care. This issue is even more pronounced in areas of socioeconomic deprivation, which are referred to as GP practices in the ‘Deep End.  

The ‘MINDED’ pilot intervention, Mental health IN the Deep EnD, is evaluating the feasibility and acceptability, for patients, GPs and primary care staff, of embedding a psychology team into general practiceThe pilot is taking place in 4 general practices in the NENC region, offering patients a 30-minute consultation with a member of the GP-based psychology team.  

The study is the first rigorous evaluation of its kind and will provide discrete case studies of the intervention in each GP practice. 


Qualitative data will be generated using REC-Approved topic guides in one-to-one semi-structured interviews with primary care staff and patients in Deep End general practices, and health care professionals in the wider mental health care system.  

The interviews will explore the challenges and opportunities of recruiting, training and supporting new staff members; document patients’ experiences and opinions of the intervention; and examine wider factors in the commissioning process.  

Benefits anticipated: 

Using in-depth analyses of emerging models, and characteristics, of the intervention the pilot will provide 4 case studies, which will offer a unique understanding of the planning, delivery and outcomes of complex interventions aimed at improving mental health care for patients living in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage.  

It will provide valuable learning, -of emerging integrated care systems in England, -for general practices interested in expanding their practice team; and inform wider efforts to improve mental health and reduce health inequalities.