COMMERCIAL: Sussex Partnership FT has been awarded a major research grant to investigate whether a form of meditation can help people with schizophrenia who “hear voices”.

The trust’s research and development department was awarded £183,000 by the National Institute for Health Research to conduct a two-year study into whether a psychological intervention known as “mindfulness meditation” can help those with the condition.

More than 140 people using services in Sussex and Hampshire will be recruited to take part in a randomised controlled trial to test a specially-devised group therapy approach.

The trust was also awarded a £207,000 grant by the same body to find better ways to work with young people being treated for psychosis.

The three-year study, designed to promote Early Intervention in Psychosis, will look at why people drop out of services through focus groups with young people, service users and families. 

Researchers will use findings to work with health professionals, managers and commissioners to adapt and improve services.

Dr Mark Hayward, director of research at Sussex Partnership, said both studies would enhance understanding of what causes mental illness and how it can be treated.

He said: “Both research contracts endorse Sussex Partnership’s reputation as a leading centre of mental health research in the southern England.”