About The Mental Elf

Welcome to the Mental Elf. This website will help you find just what you need to keep up-to-date with all of the important and reliable mental health research and guidance.

Our team of mental health experts post blogs every week day with short and snappy summaries that highlight evidence-based publications relevant to mental health practice in the UK and further afield.

All of our blogs are free to read. This is important because our vision for this website is to facilitate a democratic conversation between patients, clinicians, researchers, carers, policy makers, health and social care professionals and others. It’s vital that this discussion takes place in a public space so we can learn from each other.

Our bloggers give their time for free and they are all really keen to contribute because they shared our ethos for clearly communicating evidence-based research to anyone who is interested. This website is very much a group effort.

We scour over 500 sources of evidence (journals, databases, websites) every week, to find key guidancesystematic reviews and other high quality research and reports that will help make your practice more evidence-based. The selection process has no input from any external bodies, publishers, sponsors or commercial organisations.

No bias, no misinformation, no spin, just what you need.

Who started the Mental Elf?

The blog was started by André Tomlin in May 2011. André’s an Information Scientist and has worked in mental health since the late nineties, formerly at the University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Mental Health and since 2002 as MD of Minervation Ltd an evidence-based healthcare consultancy based in Oxford.

After  2 very successful years of blogging as the Mental Elf, André decided to invite colleagues to join him as contributors to the site. It’s great to involve a wide range of people in this venture, to bring in a fresh perspective and their considerable knowledge and clinical experience.

How is the Mental Elf funded?

The National Elf Service website, which contains the Mental Elf and a number of other elves covering topics from dentistry to social care, was set up by Minervation Ltd. The Founders of Minervation (André Tomlin and Douglas Badenoch) are also Founders and Directors of the National Elf Service. The website is self-funded and receives no money from the pharmaceutical industry or other commercial organisations. We feel that it is important we remain independent from any commercial organisations who work in mental health.

In 2012, we received a small research and development grant from the UK Government to carry out the market research to get our website fully tested and launched.

Does the Mental Elf make money?

All of the National Elf Service blogs (including the Mental Elf) are free. That will always remain so. Contributors are not paid for their blogs, and we only work with people who have no conflict of interest.

However, it costs money to run the website. We generate revenue from Membership. Our members enjoy the added benefits of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system within the National Elf Service website. This is aimed at students and professionals who need to keep up to date with the latest research in a way that can be linked to their CPD. The CPD system has been built with significant investment from Minervation and is run as a business. We sell individual and institutional subscriptions to this website and our clients include universities, charities, the NHS and local authorities. An institutional subscription includes bulk access to our CPD membership area as well as consultancy support from our team. Find out more by reading our publicity leaflet.

Our plan is to build this business so we can grow the website and include other health topics in our list of elves.

Is the National Elf Service ever paid for content?

No. We do not accept commissioned articles, and we do not work with authors who have a conflict of interest with the paper in question.

Who writes for the Mental Elf?

We have an ever-expanding team of people who contribute to the site. The group includes senior clinicians and researchers, health and social care professionals, academics, service users, students, information scientists and carers.

We’re adding to our network of writers all the time, so find out more if you’re interested in getting involved yourself.

Do you have an elf in you, fighting to get out?

Click on the little pointy eared fella to find out more about writing for the Mental Elf

  1. Clive Adams, Chair of Mental Health Services Research and Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group at the University of Nottingham
  2. Sally Adams, Lecturer in Health Psychology at the University of Bath
  3. Lia Ali, Consultant Psychiatrist for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  4. Eva Alisic, Psychologist and Research Fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia
  5. Ahmed Al-Shihabi, Medicine Student at University College London
  6. Rachel Allan, Practice Leader for The Royal Mencap Society
  7. Rob Allison, Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, University of York
  8. Murtada Alsaif, Pharmacist
  9. Ian Anderson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester
  10. Steve Appleton, Managing Director, Contact Consulting
  11. Douglas Badenoch, Director of Minervation Ltd
  12. Joe Barnby, Research Assistant, University College London
  13. John Baker, Chair of Mental Health Nursing at the University of Leeds
  14. Jonny Benjamin, Mental Health Campaigner, Film Producer, Public Speaker, Writer and Vlogger
  15. Laura Bennett, Research Assistant for the Learning Disability Mortality Review Programme (LeDeR) at University of Bristol
  16. Victoria Betton, Director of mHabitat
  17. Vishal Bhavsar, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow in Epidemiology, Institute of Psychiatry
  18. Helen Bould, Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  19. Simon Bradstreet, Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow
  20. Rachel Brand, Clinical Psychologist and Research Fellow at Phoenix Australia: Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, The University of Melbourne
  21. Josefien Breedvelt, Research Officer, Mental Health Foundation
  22. Simon Brett , Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner & MSci student at the University of Reading
  23. Amy Broadbent, Research Assistant, Cambridge
  24. Matthew Broome, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  25. Mark Brown, Development Director of Social Spider CIC
  26. Martin Brunet, GP from the Binscombe Medical Centre
  27. Kjetil Gundro Brurberg, Researcher in the Division of Primary Care and Clinical Procedures, Norwegian Knowledge Center for Health Services in Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  28. Lisa Burscheidt, Assistant Librarian at North East London NHS Foundation Trust
  29. Alastair Canaway, Research Fellow, University of Warwick
  30. Sarah Carr, Associate Professor of Mental Health Research at Middlesex University, Independent Consultant at Sarah Carr and Associates Ltd
  31. Brant Cebulla, Development Director for the Vitamin D Council in California, USA
  32. Emma Cernis, Research Assistant, Oxford
  33. Iain Chalmers, Coordinator, James Lind Initiative
  34. Sarah Chapman, Knowledge Broker at UK Cochrane Centre
  35. Paul Christiansen, Lecturer at the University of Liverpool
  36. Andrea Cipriani, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford; Editor in Chief of Evidence-Based Mental Health
  37. Natasha Clarke, PhD Student at the University of Liverpool
  38. Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the Royal College of Psychiatrists Spokesperson on Suicide and Self harm, and the Clinical Director of Connecting with People
  39. Nicola Coop, Assistant Psychologist
  40. Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
  41. Samuele Cortese, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Southampton and Honorary Consultant Child Psychiatrist at Solent NHS Trust

  42. Jake Crawshaw, PhD candidate at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King’s College London
  43. Ioana Cristea, Associate Professor at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca and a Research Fellow at the University of Pisa, Italy
  44. Jazz Croft, PhD candidate, Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol
  45. Ian Cummins, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Salford
  46. Emily Currell, MSc Student at University College London
  47. Sasha Danilina, PhD Student at University College London
  48. Suzanne Dash, Graduate-Entry Medicine Student at the University of Oxford
  49. Geoff Davies, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Surrey
  50. Kelly Davies, Lecturer in Mental Health, University of York
  51. John M Davis, Professor of Psychiatry and Research Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  52. Jennifer de Bayer, Research Coordinator, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Oxford University
  53. Caroline De Brun, Knowledge and Evidence Manager, Public Health England Knowledge and Library Services
  54. Angharad de Cates, Psychiatry Registrar and Honorary Research Fellow at Warwick Medical School
  55. Jill Domoney, Clinical Psychologist and Researcher, Section of Women’s Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London
  56. Ailsa Donnelly, Lay Chair of the PRIMER group
  57. Muna Dubad, PhD Student, University of Warwick
  58. Jay Duckworth, PhD Student, University of Liverpool
  59. Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor at Exeter University
  60. Norah Essali, Medical student, University of Kalamoon, Syria
  61. Pete Etchells, Senior Lecturer in Biological Psychology, Bath Spa University
  62. Alison Faulkner, Survivoer Researcher and Trainer in Mental Health
  63. Mina Fazel, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry and Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  64. Matt Field, Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool
  65. Caroline Fiennes, Director, Giving Evidence
  66. Meg Fluharty, Research Assistant, Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, University of Bristol
  67. Andrés Fonseca, Consultant Psychiatrist, CEO of Health eLiving Partnership, Honorary Lecturer at UCL
  68. Una Foye, Research Officer, Mental Health Foundation
  69. Suzi Gage, PhD Epidemiologist at the University of Bristol & Blogger at the Guardian Science Network
  70. Linda Gask, Emerita Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry at the University of Manchester
  71. Clarissa Giebel, Researcher and PhD student, PSSRU, University of Manchester
  72. Guy Goodwin, Professor of Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry, Oxford
  73. Amy Green, Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Bristol
  74. Ellen Grimas, PhD Student, Imperial College
  75. Ian Hamilton, Lecturer in Mental Health in the Department of Health Sciences at York University
  76. Ben Hannigan, Reader in Mental Health Nursing in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University
  77. Keir Harding, Occupational Therapist, Cynnwys (together), the personality disorder service in Cardiff
  78. Amanda Harris, Psychologist and Director of the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network
  79. Judith Harrison, Welsh Clinical Academic Training Fellow, Cardiff University
  80. Camille Hart, Psychiatric Trainee Doctor, Queen’s University, Belfast
  81. Helge Hasselmann, Research Masters Student in Clinical and Cognitive Neurosciences at Maastricht University
  82. Simon Hatcher, Full Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Ottawa
  83. Joseph Hayes, Clinical Training Fellow, UCL Division of Psychiatry
  84. Laura Hemming, PhD Student, University of Manchester
  85. Jessamy Hibberd, Chartered Clinical Psychologist
  86. Kerrie-Anne Ho, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales, Australia
  87. Chris Hollis, Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham and Consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  88. Mark Horowitz, Training Psychiatrist from Australia who is completing a PhD at King’s College London
  89. Maxine Howard, PhD student at University College London
  90. Dochka Hristova, Project Coordinator for the National Elf Service
  91. Samei Huda, Consultant Psychiatrist, Pennine Care, Manchester
  92. Liz Hughes, Professor of Mental Health at University of Huddersfield and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  93. Jane Iles, Clinical Psychologist working in CAMHS and Research Associate at Imperial College London
  94. Alex Jarram, PhD student at University College London
  95. Sameer Jauhar, Research Fellow and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry
  96. Sam Jee, Research Associate at the University of Manchester
  97. Susie Johnson, Recent Graduate from Bristol University
  98. Mandy Johnstone, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, University of Edinburgh
  99. Andrew Jones, Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool
  100. Ian Jones, Professor of Perinatal Psychiatry at Cardiff University, Director of the Welsh National Centre for Mental Health
  101. Jonathan Jones, PhD Psychology student at the University of Exeter
  102. Dan Joyce, Clinical Lecturer at Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, Junior Doctor in general adult psychiatry
  103. Joe Judge, Clinical Psychologist, Hamilton Psychological Therapies Team, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  104. Eleanor Kennedy, PhD Student at Bristol Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, University of Bristol
  105. Patrick Kennedy-Williams, Trainee Clinical Psychologist & Doctoral Student, University of Oxford
  106. Olivia Kirtley, Research Assistant, University of Glasgow
  107. Sarah Knowles, Research Fellow, NIHR School for Primary Care Research
  108. Stanley Kutcher, Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and the Director WHO Collaborating Care in Mental Health Policy and Training at Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre in Canada
  109. Jennifer Laidlaw, PGY-5 Resident in Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  110. Nicky Lambert, Director of Teaching and Learning Mental Health, Social Work and Integrative Medicine at Middlesex University
  111. Alex Langford, Psychiatrist, Oxford
  112. Jennifer Lau, University Lecturer at the University of Oxford. Director of the Researching Emotional Disorders and Development (REDD) lab
  113. Keith Laws, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Hertfordshire
  114. Kirsten Lawson, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for Liaison Psychiatry Services at Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust
  115. Caroline Leah, Senior Lecturer and Social Worker based at Manchester Metropolitan University
  116. Simon Leigh, Health Economist at Lifecode® Solutions and Nexus Clinical Analytics, Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool
  117. Gemma Lewis, University College London
  118. Karina Lovell, Director of Research and Professor of Mental Health, University of Manchester
  119. Colleen Loo, Professor of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia
  120. Raluca Lucacel, PhD Student, Cluj Napoca, Romania
  121. Maartje Luijten, Assistant Professor, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  122. Lucy Maddox, NHS Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer and BSA Media Fellow
  123. Sarah Man, Staff Nurse, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit
  124. Sammy Man, Clinical Psychologist
  125. Farhana Mann, Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow at University College London and Specialist Registrar (ST6) in General Adult Psychiatry in North London
  126. Elena Marcus, Research Assistant at the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and University College London
  127. Joanna Martin, PhD Student at Cardiff University
  128. Steven Marwaha, Reader, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick
  129. Lisa Marzano, Associate Professor in Psychology at Middlesex University
  130. Olivia Maynard, Research Associate, Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at the University of Bristol
  131. Edel Mc Glanaghy, Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Edinburgh
  132. Sarah McDonald, Clinical Psychologist
  133. Iain McDougall, Specialist trainee in General Adult Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Belfast
  134. Carla McEnery, Provisional Psychologist and PhD candidate, Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne
  135. Andrew McIntosh, Professor of Biological Psychiatry in the University of Edinburgh Division of Psychiatry
  136. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of Wellesley Institute
  137. John McGowan, Director and Academic Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Scheme at the Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Kent
  138. Kate McLaughlin, Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, USA
  139. Mark Monaghan, Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy at the University of Loughborough
  140. Michelle Moulds, Professor and PLuS Alliance Fellow, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Australia
  141. Claire Mokrysz, PhD Student, University College London
  142. John Moriarty, Research Fellow, University of Belfast
  143. Marcus Munafò, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol
  144. Akshay Nair, Wolfson Clinical Research Fellow, University College London
  145. Josephine Neale, Trainee Psychiatrist in North London
  146. Natalie Nelissen, Research Fellow at mHabitat
  147. Rosalyn Nelson, Assistant Psychologist, North Wilts Memory Service, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  148. Nicola Newhouse, Researcher at Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford
  149. Claire Niedzwiedz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health at the University of Edinburgh
  150. Elly O’Brien, Information Scientist, London
  151. Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University
  152. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Consultant in Public Health in Bradford & Airedale and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds
  153. Chris O’Sullivan, Mental Health Foundation
  154. Michael Ostacher, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
  155. Gozde Ozakinci, Health Psychologist and Lecturer in health psychology at the University of St Andrews
  156. Geoff Page, Research Fellow, University of York
  157. Laurence Palfreyman, Assistant Psychologist in South London
  158. Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
  159. Christopher Pell, In-patient General Adult Psychiatrist at the Susan Carnegie Centre in Angus, Scotland for NHS Tayside
  160. Serap Pinar, Biomedical and Molecular Science Research (M.Sc) from King’s College London
  161. Alexandra Pitman, Honorary Research Associate in the UCL Division of Psychiatry, Macmillan Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at St George’s Hospital
  162. Belinda Platt, Post-Doc at the LMU University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  163. Amy Price, Trustee of the ThinkWell charity where she leads the PLOT-IT (Public Led Online Trials-Infrastructure and Tools) project
  164. Paul Ramchandani, Reader in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry & Deputy Head, The Centre for Mental Health, Imperial College London
  165. Matt Ravenhall, Final year Biology student at the University of York
  166. Stefan Rennick-Egglestone, Digital Research Specialist, University of Nottingham
  167. Laoise Renwick, Lecturer at the University of Manchester
  168. Shirley Reynolds, Director of the Charlie Waller Institute and Professor of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies at the University of Reading
  169. Thomas Richardson, Principal Clinical Psychologist at Solent NHS Trust
  170. Abi Rose, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Liverpool
  171. Diana Rose, Professor of User-Led Research, Head of Section and Co-director Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), King’s College London
  172. Sarah Rowe, Lecturer on the MSc Clinical Mental Health Sciences and MSc Mental Health Sciences Research, UCL Division of Psychiatry
  173. Emma Saddleton, Research Worker and part-time MSc student at the Institute of Psychiatry, London
  174. Christopher Sampson, Health Economist at the University of Nottingham
  175. Lucas Shelemy, PhD Researcher, University of Reading
  176. Andrew Shepherd, Doctoral research Fellow at the University of Manchester and Higher Trainee in Forensic Psychiatry
  177. Lucy Simons, Research Fellow at NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Cooperative, Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham
  178. Mark Smith, IAPT Clinician working for Steps2Change and independent Psychotherapist Trainer
  179. Francesca Solmi, Research Associate, Division of Psychiatry, University College London
  180. Andrew Sommerlad, PhD Fellow, University College London
  181. Emily Stapley, PhD Student at University College London
  182. David Steele, Junior Doctor with an interest in psychology, psychiatry and public health
  183. Becci Strawbridge, Mental Health Research, IoPPN, King’s College London
  184. Caroline Struthers, Education and Training Manager for the EQUATOR Network
  185. Harry Sumnall, Professor in Substance Use, Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University
  186. Rebecca Syed, Researcher, King’s College London
  187. Edward Sykes, Senior Press Manager and Head of Mental Health & Neuroscience, Science Media Centre
  188. Danny Taggart, Academic Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of Essex
  189. Rupert Thurston, Junior Doctor working in General Adult Psychiatry in the West Midlands
  190. Caroline Tomes, Public Health Specialty Registrar currently working in Cambridge
  191. André Tomlin, Managing Director of Minervation Ltd
  192. Derek Tracy, Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Director for crisis, inpatient, and rehabilitation services at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  193. Alison Turner, Head of the Evidence Analysis team within the Strategy Unit at NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit
  194. Alan Underwoord, Specialist Clinical Psychologist
  195. Raphael Underwood, PhD candidate at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  196. Rachel Upthegrove, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Birmingham
  197. Kathryn Walsh, Research Associate at the University of Birmingham
  198. Joanne Wallace, Graduate Entry Medical Student at The University of Warwick
  199. Michael Walton, PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University
  200. Fiona Warner-Gale, Joint Director of Associate Development Solutions Ltd
  201. Andrew Watson, Clinical Research Fellow in Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh
  202. Jasmin Wertz, PhD Student, Kings College London
  203. Simon Wessely, Chair of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (IoPPN), King’s College London
  204. Lucy Willetts, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Accredited CBT Therapist
  205. Sarsha Wilson, Research Assistant at the NIHR Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility
  206. Katrina Witt, Research Fellow with the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford
  207. Stephen Wood, Professor of Adolescent Brain Development and Mental Health at the University of Birmingham
  208. Fabio Zucchelli, Sport and Exercise Psychology MSc student

Who decides what evidence is included on the website?

We scour over 400 databases, journals, websites and other feeds to bring you the best available mental health evidence.  Items are selected using an evidence-based inclusion criteria to ensure they are relevant to UK practice and based on high quality research, policy and guidance.

The selection process has no input from any external bodies, publishers, sponsors or commercial organisations.

We critically appraise the material we find using the CASP critical appraisal checklists.

Press coverage

Are there more elves for different health topics?

We are adding to our National Elf Service all the time.  Check out these other elves:

The Woodland is getting busier every year.

The Woodland is getting busier every year.