rob poole lg

Rob Poole

Co-Director, CFMHAS

Professor of Social Psychiatry, School of Social Sciences

MB, BS, FRCPsych
Bangor University

01978 727 142

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I am primarily a clinical psychiatrist by inclination and by experience. I held NHS consultant posts for 21 years before I took my first substantive academic appointment in 2009. I have held my present post since 1st July 2012.

I trained at St George's Hospital, London and in Oxford.

From 1988 to 2004 I worked in a deprived part of central Liverpool. I was closely involved in establishing services such as the Criminal Justice Liaison Team and the Homeless Outreach Team. I worked with non-statutory mental health projects to develop better services for the Black and Chinese communities in the area.

In 2004 I moved to an NHS community psychiatry post in rural North East Wales.  My present clinical role is in liaison psychiatry.

My long term research and academic interests centre on clinical skills and issues of clinical importance that affect deprived and marginalised people. These include substance misuse, especially alcohol, and the relationship between substance misuse and mental illness; the care of people with mental illness who experience long inpatient admissions, particularly those funded by the NHS but treated in the private sector; prescribing practice; public mental health measures to prevent suicide and self harm; and the relationship between social inequality and severe mental illness.  I am also interested in mental illness and creativity, and in professional boundary violations at the interface between professionals' religious beliefs and their clinial practice.

In 2009 I formed a research collaboration with Professor Catherine Robinson which, in 2012, led to the establishment of the Centre for Mental Health and Society.

I have co-authored two books on clinical skills with Robert Higgo which have gained national and international recognition. A second edition of our book on interviewing will be published in 2017.  A third book was published in 2014, entitled  Mental Illness and Poverty. This was written  with Robert Higgo and Catherine Robinson.

With Catherine Robinson I have a long-term collaboration with colleagues in Mysore, India. We have published work on Deliberate Self Harm and we have a suicide prevention programme in progress. 


Professor of Social Psychiatry, School of Social Science, Bangor University. July 2012 -

Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wrexham Maelor Hospital. June 2009 - 

Co-Director, Centre for Mental Health and Society, Bangor University 2012 -

Honorary Research Lead, National Centre for Mental Health, Wales, 2015 -

Chair, Executive Committee, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, 2012 - 2016

Vice-President, Royal College of Psychiatrists, November 2015 - July 2016

Director and Specialist Adviser, Invited Review Service, Royal College of Psychiatrists, June 2013 -

Member, Finance Management Committee, Royal College of Psychiatrists, September 2014 -


Professor of Mental Health, Glyndŵr University, Wrexham. June 2009 - June 2012

Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist, North East Wales NHS Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University, 2004 - 2009

Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist, Merseycare NHS Trust, Liverpool and Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry, Liverpool University, 1988 - 2004


Journal Articles

Ryan T, Carden J, Higgo R, Poole R, Robinson CA (2016) An assessment of need for mental health rehabilitation amongst in-patients in a Welsh region.  Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology   DOI 10.1007/s00127-016-1213-8 

Rajendra R, Krishna M, Robinson CA, Heggere N, Poole R (2015) A feasibility study to establish a Deliberate Self-harm Register in a state hospital in southern India. British Journal of Medical Practitioners 8(1): a807

Poole R (2015) NHS morality and care based on compassionate values. Psychiatric Bulletin 39: 48-49 

Poole R (2015) The sacred, the profane and the Francis Report.  The Psychiatric Bulletin.

Krishna M,  Rajendra R, Majgi SM, Heggere N, Parimoo S, Robinson CA, Poole R (2014). Severity of suicidal intent, method and behaviour antecedent to an act of self-harm: A cross sectional study of survivors of self-harm referred to a tertiary hospital in Mysore, south India. Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 12:134-139

Lepping P, Schönfeldt-Leuona, Sambhi RS, Lanka SVN, Lane S, Whittington R, Leucht S, Poole R (2014) A systematic review of the clinical relevance of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 130:326-341. 

Poole R (2014) Clinical implications of church attendance and suicide. British Journal of Psychiatry. 205; 248.

Poole R, Ryan T, Pearsall A (2014) Delayed discharges in an urban inpatient mental health service in England. Psychiatric Bulletin. 38:66-70.

Cook, CCH, Poole R, Higgo R (2012) Holistic Psychiatry. The Psychiatrist. 36: 235-236.

Bailey J, Poole R, Ruben S, Robinson CA (2012) Is alcohol consumption irrelevant to outcome in anxiety and depression? British Journal of Psychiatry 201: 326

Poole R, Higgo R (2011). Spirituality and the threat to therapeutic boundaries in psychiatric practice. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 14, 19-29.

Poole R, Robinson C, Poole L (2011). The problem with drink. Community Safety, 10 (1): 47-51

Lepping P, Sambhi RS, Whittington R, Lane S, Poole R (2011) "A systematic review of the clinical relevance of findings in trials of antipsychotics", British Journal of Psychiatry, 198, 341-345.

Komuravelli A, Poole R, Higgo R (2011). Stability of the diagnosis of first-episode drug-induced psychosis. The Psychiatrist. 35, 224-227

Poole R, Cook C (2011). "Praying with a patient constitutes a breach of professional boundaries in psychiatric practice". British Journal of Psychiatry. 199: 94-98

Poole R (2011). “Praying with a patient constitutes a breach of professional boundaries in psychiatric practice: Author’s reply”. British Journal of Psychiatry. 199: 518

Tungaraza TE, Gupta S, Jones J, Poole R, Slegg G (2010) “Polypharmacy and High Dose Antipsychotic Regimes in the Community, The Psychiatrist, 34, 44-46.

Poole R, Higgo R, Strong G, Kennedy G, Ruben S, Barnes R, Lepping P, Mitchell P (2010) Concerns over professional boundaries remain unresolved. The Psychiatrist, 34: 211-212.

Poole R, Higgo R (2010) Psychiatry, religion and spirituality: a way forward. The Psychiatrist 34: 452-453.

Poole R, Higgo R (2009) “Postmodernism and psychiatry”, Psychiatric Bulletin, 33: 481 - 482.

Poole R, Bhugra D (2008) “Should Psychiatry Exist?”  International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 54 (3), 195-6

Poole R. Higgo R, Strong G, Kennedy G, Ruben S, Barnes R, Lepping P, Mitchell P (2008) “Religion, Psychiatry and Professional Boundaries” , Psychiatric Bulletin, 32, 356-7.


Poole R, Higgo R (2017) "Psychiatric Interviewing and Assessment Second Edition", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Poole R, Higgo R, Robinson CA (2014) Mental Health and Poverty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Poole R, Higgo R, (2008) “Clinical Skills in Psychiatric Treatment”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Poole R, Higgo R (2006) “Psychiatric Interviewing and Assessment”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Book Chapters

Poole R, Robinson C.A. (2017) "Training General Hospital Doctors in Mental Health Assessment using GMHAT/PC as part of a suicide prevention strategy".  Chapter in The Global Mental Health Assessment Tool, Ed. Shah V, Indian Psychiatry Society

Poole R, Tippett M (2016) “Mental health services in Wales: policy, legislation and governance”. Chapter in Management for Psychiatrists, Ed. Bhugra D. Bell S, Burns A.  London: RCPsych Publications

Poole R (2015) “Emergencies involving alcohol” Chapter in Psychiatric Emergencies, Ed. Nicholls K. London: RCPsych Publications.

Poole R (2004) “Medical Diagnosis of Mental Illness”, Chapter in Good Practice in Adult Mental Health, Jessica Kingsley, Eds Ryan T and Pritchard J.

Brabbins C and Poole R (2000) “Substance Misuse in a Secure Environment”, Chapter in Forensic Mental Health Care Planning: Directions and Dilemmas, Churchill Livingstone, Eds. Merson D, Mason T, McKeown M, McCann G.

Poole R (1996)  “General Adult Psychiatrists and Their Patients’ Children”, Chapter in Parental Psychiatric Disorder, 1st edition, Cambridge University Press, Eds. Gopfert M, Webster J, Seeman MV.

Research Reports

Ryan T, Carden J, Higgo R, Poole R, Robinson C.A (2016) An assessment of need for mental health rehabilitation amongst in-patients in a Welsh region.  Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51 (9), 1285 -1291.

Rajendra R, Krishna M, Robinson C.A, Heggere N, Poole R (2015) A feasibility study to establish a Deliberate Self-harm Register in a state hosital in Southern India.  British Journal of Medical Practitioners. 8(1): a807

Krayer, A., Robinson, CA, Poole, R & Wolfendale, C (2013) Service provision for people with mental health and substance misuse problems – the relationship between stigma and social exclusion. Final Report to the National Institue for Social Care and Health Research.

Peck C, Tocque K, Poole R (2011). Scoping exercise: length of stay and readmission rates in Salford Adult Acute Mental Health Services. NHS Salford

Bailey J, Poole R, Zinovieff F, Robinson C, Parry O, Tocque K, Kennedy L (2011). Achieving positive change in the drinking culture in Wales. Alcohol Concern Cymru.

Poole R, Robinson C, Bailey J, Shelton C, Ruben S (2011). The DIAL study: Deaths Involving Alcohol In Wales. Research Report. Welsh Assembly Government.

Poole R, Ryan T, Pearsall A (2010). An investigation of delayed discharge amongst inpatients under the care of Manchester Health and Social Care Trust. NHS Manchester, Manchester City Council, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

Robinson C, Poole R, Slegg G, Ruben S, Bailey J (2009). Alcohol-Involved Death: A pilot study. Welsh Assembly Government.


Poole R, Robinson C.A (2016) Profile: Vanessa Cameron: Thirty-six years at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, BJPsych Bulletin, 40 (6), 341-345

Poole R, (2015) The sacred, the profane and the Francis Report.  The Psychiatric Bulletin (In Press)

Poole R, (2015) NHS morality and care based on compassionate values.  BJPsych Bulletin 39: 48-49

Poole R, Tully J (2014) Creativity and mental health. RCPsych blog zone Minds in music.

Poole R, Bentall R (2011) Inequality, deprivation and psychosis. BJPsych eletter.

Poole R (2010). Secularism as a Professional Boundary in Psychiatry. Royal College of Psychiatrists Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group archive:

Poole R (2009). Delenda Est Carthago! Cambridge Medicine Blog.

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Research Interests
  • Substance misuse, particularly drug-induced psychosis, ‘dual diagnosis’, dependency on prescribed analgesics, alcohol mortality in non-dependent individuals
  • Prevention of suicide and self harm in South India
  • Development of novel methods of meta-analysis to assess clinical relevance of drug trial findings
  • Social inequality and mental illness
  • Prescribing behaviour
  • Psychiatric care of people with continuing psychosis, particulary in the private sector
  • Clinical skills, particularly with regard to professional boundaries in clincial practice concerning religion
  • Mental disorder and creativity


 Current Projects
  • With Professor Catherine Robinson and Dr Sue Ruben and others, work on dual diagnosis, Deaths Involving Alcohol, misuse of prescribed opioids and other substance misuse topics.
  • With Professor Peter Lepping, member of international group using novel method of meta-analysis to assess clinical relevance of trial findings.
  • With Dr Tony Ryan and Professor Catherine Robinson, investigation of care of people with intractable mental illness. 
  • With Professor Catherine Robinson, Dr Murali Krishna and others, work on deliberate self harm and triggers to suicide in India.
  • With Professor Catherine Robinson, Professor Peter Lepping, Professor BN Raveesh, Dr Murali Krishna and Dr Tony Ryan, work on leverage and human rights in mental health services in India.
  • I am the UK’s leading opponent of the integration of religion and spirituality into routine psychiatric care. With Professors Catherine Robinson and Chris Cook, developing research to provide empirical evidence over professional boundaries.
  • Professor Catherine Robinson and I are collaborating with Karen Heald and Dr Susan Liggett (academic fine artists at Glyndŵr University) together with Professor Chris Dowrick (Professor of primary Care at Liverpool University) on a project to use creative arts to measure changes to sense of self during antidepressant treatment alongside orthodox psychometric measures.



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Committee Membership
  • Chair, Executive Committee, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales (2012 - present)
Recent Presentations

Poole R (2016) Stigma (keynote speech).  Public symposium 'From stigma to inclusion: Understanding individual experiences of mental health' Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Uk.  26th April 2016

Poole R (2016) 'Still no direction home: 14 years of the virtual asylum'.  UK branch meeting of the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation.  Preston, UK. 16th April 2016

Poole R (2016) 'Paved with good intentions: religion, psychiatry and boundary violations' Birmingham Medical Institute Section of Psychiatry, Birmingham UK.  5th April 2016

Poole R (2016) 'Musiciants, creativity and mental health'.  Public Music & Mental Health Seminar, Leeds Music Hub, Leeds UK.  18th February 2016

Robinson C, Poole R (2015) 'Professional Boundaries in Clinical Practice: Findings from a Qualitative Study.'  Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales annual meeting.  Cardiff UK.  17th December 2015

Poole R (2015) 'Secularism and spirituality in psychiatric understanding of responsibility'.  Presentation at Third UK Conference on Philosophy & Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists Philosophy & Psychiatry Special Interest Group, London, UK.  23rd September 2015

Poole R, Robinson C (2015) Ethics Workshop: Violations of professional boundaries related to religion and spirituality.  International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Birmingham, UK.  30th June 2015 

Grover R, Heald K, Liggett S, Tranter R, Robinson CA, Poole R (2013) A case study of a participant in the project In-Between-Ness: Using art to capture changes to the self during anti-depressant treatment. Poster presentation in : Proceedings of the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2-5th July 2013, Edinburgh, UK. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Poole R (2013) ‘Spiritual and boundaries in psychiatric practice’. Mysore Coercion – First Indo European Symposium on Coercion, Mysore, India, 2nd February 2013.


Since 2011, I have visited Mysore in South India at least once a year, working on research and clinical projects, and developing research infrastructure and skills.  CFMHAS has received grants from the British Council, the Tropical Health Education Trust and the Welsh Government to support these visits. In November 2015, we organised a train-the-trainer event as part of our suicide prevention programme, which led to the first of a series of seminars to train general hospital doctors.

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