Photo of Rachel Cohen

Dr Rachel Cohen

BA(Lond.Met.)hons, MA(Cardiff), PhD(Cardiff)

  • BS8 2BN


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a Senior Research Associate based at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Mental Health.

I’m an experienced qualitative researcher, with a keen interest in mental health care service delivery, and expertise in studying care and treatment pathways across a range of contexts. I’ve worked in applied health services research for several years, although I am a dedicated cross-disciplinarian, strongly affiliated with the humanities and social sciences, and with a passion for exploring how identities and subjectivities are conceptualised, constructed and performed.

My current role, alongside my colleague Dr Lucy Biddle, is to lead the REFER study: Helping to pREvent suicide in young people/students: a user-inFormed review of existing online suppoRT services and their onward signposting strategies. Funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), in association with the Elizabeth Blackwell institute at the University of Bristol, our study aims to identify existing online help provision for young people experiencing acute mental distress and suicidal thoughts, and will seek to recommend improvements to current services and the ways in which they help users to engage with offline services and other sources of support.

From 2017 to 2019, I worked as project manager on the W-NEON study: National Evaluation of the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway – Women’s Services. Commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, this mixed-methods study explored the impact of a new pathway of psychologically informed services on reducing risk and recidivism for female offenders with complex needs, focusing particularly upon improving social and relational functioning and psychological health. My contributions included leading the qualitative work package of the study, conducting fieldwork and collecting data from interviews with staff and offenders at various sites across England, including high secure prisons, probation services and approved premises, qualitative data analysis, and writing up the final report with the W-NEON research team.

Prior to this, I worked on three NIHR funded multi-site evaluation studies:

ATLAS (Ethnographic Study of Care Pathways for Arthroplasty Patients): 2016-2017, University of Bristol Medical School

COCAPP-A (Cross-national mixed-methods comparative case study of recovery-focused mental health care planning and co-ordination in acute inpatient mental health settings): 2014 – 2016, Swansea University

COCAPP (Collaborative mental health care planning project): 2014, Cardiff University 

My academic background began with a BA (Hons 1:1) in Film Studies (London Metropolitan, 2007) and an MA (Distinction) in Forensic Linguistics (Cardiff University, 2008), and my PhD thesis (Cardiff University, 2013), entitled Cinematic Constructions of the Female Serial Killer: A Psychosocial Audience Study, explored the ways in which spectatorial “investments” in film are motivated psychologically, ideologically, socio-culturally and biographically, operating in conscious and unconscious ways.

Following completion of my PhD, I worked as a teacher and lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC), using psychocultural theoretical and methodological approaches to explore the psychodynamics of cultural engagement, especially in relation to cinema and to popular music.

Additional areas of research interest include language and communication studies, criminology, psychoanalytic and forensic psychotherapy, media audience studies and cinematic/televisual representations of mental illness.

I engage enthusiastically (and as frequently as time permits!) in a variety of cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange pursuits. This has included participation in public events such as:

Spotlight on the Archive – evening film salons organised by The British Psychoanalytical Society:

Cardiff sciSCREEN:   


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Research Output

  • 10 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 1 Chapter in a book
  • 1 Review article (Academic Journal)

The Offender Personality Disorder Pathway for Women in England and Wales: a hopeful new development?

Cohen, R., Trebilcock, J., Weaver, T. & Moran, P. A., 8 Jan 2020, In : Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. 29, 5-6, p. 257-260 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery implementation in practice: an ethnographic study of services for hip and knee replacement

    Drew, S., Judge, A., Cohen, R., Fitzpatrick, R., Baker, K. & Gooberman-Hill, R., Mar 2019, In : BMJ Open. 9, 3, 11 p., e024431.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    143 Downloads (Pure)

    Recovery-focused mental health care planning and co-ordination in acute inpatient mental health settings: A cross national comparative mixed methods study

    Coffey, M., Hannigan, B., Barlow, S., Cartwright, M., Cohen, R., Faulkner, A., Jones, A. & Simpson, A., 16 Apr 2019, In : BMC Psychiatry. 19, 1, 18 p., 115.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 6 Citations (Scopus)
    145 Downloads (Pure)