Forensic Mental Health Research
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Improving mental health of incarcerated forensic patients – A UK-Egypt research collaboration


In April 2016, Prof Völlm, Professor of Forensic Mental Health from the Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, was awarded a grant by the British Council, to work with Associate Professor Samar Abdel Azim Ahmed of Ain Sham University of Egypt on a project titled ‘Long Term Incarcerated Patients in Forensic Settings: Role of Research in Socioeconomic Enhancement’ (‘LIFE’). This two year project aims to develop guidance on the management of forensic-psychiatric patients and ultimately improve the health and well-being of long term incarcerated patients in Egypt’s forensic settings.

There are about 500 patients in forensic psychiatric care settings in Egypt, with about 10% of these patients granted discharge each year. Long-term incarceration in highly restrictive forensic settings affects the quality of life of patients and is expensive. Hence, it is paramount to develop evidence-based guidelines for practitioners and treatments for patients to improve their health and well-being and reduce their risk. With more effective interventions (i.e., standardized assessment, treatment and management) in place, patients’ length of stay is expected to reduce and community safety will improve.

Yet, there is currently no recognized training in forensic psychiatry or guidance on the assessment and treatment of forensic-psychiatric patients in Egypt. This new project will establish a Centre of Excellence in Forensic Psychiatric Research, promote evidence based practice and aid policy makers in decision making in forensic psychiatric care in Egypt. A series of networking events, capacity building (through workshops and study visits) and pilot research will take place across both countries.

Professor Völlm said: "I am very pleased about this award and being able to use my expertise to help with the development of my speciality in other countries. I am very much looking forward to host some of our Egyptian colleagues here in Nottingham and visit their institutions. I am confident that this project will benefit both universities and countries and that we will be able to foster long-term relationships."

The project ‘LIFE’ was officially launched at the Fifth International Conference of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology Department, hosted by Ain Shams University, Egypt on 18 May 2016. 

Posted on Monday 23rd May 2016

Forensic Mental Health Research

The University of Nottingham
School of Medicine
Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1266