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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

The residential mobility of mental health service users

Research Overview

There is a stark association between neighbourhood deprivation and poor mental health. We are attempting to understand whether this relationship is caused, in some part, by the migration of individuals using mental health services into inner-city deprived areas, where specialist health services are often concentrated.

The researchers intend to discuss the findings with health service providers, other academics, and charities such as Mind, and to provide short, clear summaries for non-academic audiences such as local authorities, health care professionals and policy makers.

The project needs to use the Network’s services because the researchers want to use de-identified data from a number of sources, including: Mental Health Minimum Dataset, the Index of Multiple Deprivation (2010), the Generalised Land Use Database (2005), the ONS Rural-urban classification (2011), and the Neighbourhood Statistics Household migration figures (2001).

Knowledge about the migratory patterns of those using mental health services in England will help predict future mental health related care demand. If mental health service users are found to be moving into more deprived areas over time this has profound implications for the success of community-based care and the long-term health of those in need of mental health care.


The knowledge from this research will lead to:

  • better targeting of mental health services;
  • more cost-effective mental health programmes;
  • targeting diagnoses, by assessing whether diagnoses tend to concentrate in specific types of area;
  • better data on mental health service users and their need for housing support 

Government departments

Data from NHS Digital, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Office for National Statistics

Date Approved

June 2015 

Research team

Sam Wilding, University of Southampton

Prof David Martin, University of Southampton

Prof Graham Moon, University of Southampton

Further information and links

The impact of limiting long term illness on internal migration in England and Wales: New evidence from census microdata in Social Science & Medicine, Volume 167, October 2016, p. 107–115  

Page last updated: 24/10/2017