Our fourth webinar in our conference series – On the Journey: Navigating Mental Health

Dr Jeremy Dixon, University of Bath

Time: 12:30 – 13:30

Date: 22/11/23

Location: ZOOM, Online


The ability to form strong relationships is viewed as central to mental health recovery. Few studies have explored the experiences of people with mental health problems in forming or maintaining romantic relationships. This study addressed this gap through conducting focus groups with ten people with mental health problems, six carers and six professionals. All three participant groups considered romantic relationships to be important aspects of wellbeing and lamented this gap in the lives of people with mental health problems.

Service users and carers perceived the physicality and outward trappings of ‘being mentally ill,’ including treatment side effects and unemployment to impact negatively on romantic relationships. Service users reported self and societal stigma as a major barrier to relationships. Carers and professionals focused on vulnerability and risks. Professionals stated that they rarely supported people with mental health problems with their romantic relationships and were uneasy about discussing sexual intimacy.


Dr Jeremy Dixon is a senior lecturer in social work at the University of Bath. He joined the University of Bath in 2012 having worked for three years as a senior lecturer in social work at the University of the West of England before that. Jeremy qualified as a social worker in 1998 and worked in a wide variety of mental health services in statutory and voluntary sectors. This included work in community mental health teams, drug and alcohol teams and work in forensic mental health settings. He has several research interests. These include:

  • The views of people with mental health problems on their own mental health care
  • The views of carers towards mental health care
  • How professionals interpret law and policy.

Jeremy is the president of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on the Sociology of Mental Health and Illness. He is also the co-director of the Centre for Death & Society at the University of Bath, is a board member of the journal Health, Risk & Society and is vice chair of the Health Research Authority’s Social Care Ethics Committee.