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Professor, Mental Health Research, University of Hertfordshire

Trained as a social worker and clinical psychologist, Shula combines an interest in individuals, communities, and their social context. Most of her research focuses on community mental health and more recently on the new meaning of recovery for adults of working age. Comparative research, primarily European, is another strand of her research work, as well as participatory action research.

Shula is active in Indosow, the European social work PhD enrichment programme, and committed to involving service users as trainers and co-researchers. Researching the impact of political conflict on social work and media representation complete her background.

Research interests
Shared decision-making in mental health
Empower through participatory action research vulnerable and marginalised groups (domestic violence towards women, young LGBT adults)
Media representation of social work, social work clients and social problems
The impact of political and armed conflict on social workers.
The unifying element in her research interest is the wish to carry out research that engages the participants, treating them as experts in experience, and attempting to empower them through participatory action research.
The impact of the strength approach developed first by social work researchers has led her to invest in having people who use health and social care services as trainers and co-researchers.

Learning from comparative contexts is an important strand of her research work.

Shula’s autobiographical background led her to be interested in political, armed, conflicts, a decade before it became a troubling social issue in the UK.


  • –present
    Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University