Our research includes projects in the epidemiology of mental illness and violent crime, violence risk assessment, prison health, pharmacoepidemiology studies, forensic services, and suicide and self-harm in prisoners and offenders.
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 and treatment focused on modifiable risk factors.
Recent Media Activity
"Giving ex-prisoners psychiatric drugs leads to huge cut in reoffending rates, study finds"
"How To Interpret That Study Linking Violence And Antidepressants"
"Is there a link between taking antidepressants and increased risk of committing violent crime?"
BBC World Service (from 8:39)
"Ex-prisoners with mental health problems 'more likely to reoffend'"
"Risk of sex offending linked to genetic factors, study finds"
"Clinically depressed three times more likely to commit violent crime"
"Schizophrenia associated with increased rates of violence and suicide"
"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
Book Review: The Drugs Don't Work?, Seena Fazel
PLoS Medicine Community Blog
"Self-harm 'four times more likely' in female prisoners"
"Mental illness and violence"
Oxford Sparks, Feb 2016
"Seena Fazel discusses how research into the health of prison populations might benefit both prisoners and society as a whole."
The Lancet Psychiatry, Apr 2015 [mp3]
"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
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford
Institute of Applied Health Research, Birmingham