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© purplemattfish

Our main focus in Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology is to investigate associations and mechanisms for violent crime in severe mental illness, and develop scalable approaches to violence risk assessment. This work is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

We have worked alongside our colleagues at the Karolinska Institute to begin a definitive examination of the relationship between violent crime and both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and increased risk attributable to comorbid substance misuse. We have estimated that the proportion of violent crimes attributable to patients with these diagnoses is less than 5%, a finding which has been used by mental health charities to address patient stigma. Our investigations on the association of mental illness with specific violent crimes, suggests the need for much closer collaboration of criminal justice and mental health services.

Although some research has focused on risk factors, the underlying causal mechanisms are still poorly understood. Our current and future programme of work addresses this, and will continue to translate these findings into more effective violence risk assessment for patients with severe mental illness.

Recent Media Activity

"Schizophrenia associated with increased rates of violence and suicide"
BMJ News

"Mental Illness Can Shorten Lives More Than Chain-Smoking"
National Public Radio

"Medications Cut Violence Among Mentally Ill in Study"
Wall Street Journal

Coin-toss justice, Seena Fazel
New Scientist

Book Review: The Drugs Don't Work?, Seena Fazel
PLoS Medicine Community Blog

"Brain injury survivors three times more likely to die prematurely"
The GuardianReuters

"Self-harm 'four times more likely' in female prisoners"
BBC News

Selected publications


Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute


"Seena Fazel discusses his research into prison populations; their mental health problems and suicide risks."
University of Oxford, Feb 2015

"Seena Fazel discusses a two-part Series on homelessness with Richard Lane."
The Lancet, Oct 2014 [mp3]

"Niall Boyce discusses the concept and management of risk in mental health care with Robin Murray, Seena Fazel, and Stefan Leucht."
The Lancet Psychiatry, Jun 2014 [mp3]

"Seena Fazel discusses a population study to assess the effects of antipsychotics on violent behavior and crime."
The Lancet, May 2014 [mp3]

"Seena Fazel discusses new research about epilepsy and psychiatric comorbidity."
The Lancet, Jul 2013 [mp3]

 "Seena Fazel discusses the predictive ability of violence risk assessment instruments."
BMJ, Jul 2012

Related research themes