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Personal profile

Research interests

Core aspects of my substantive academic interests in emotion, embodiment mental illness and pain overlap with other  research fields across social science, medicine and humanities. This dialogue is reflected in developing applied research which is concerned with understanding models of health and illness in contemporary healthcare with a core focus on explaining and transcending the often unhelpful polarisations between 'the natural' and 'the social', biological and cultural, art and science. My research has contributed to policy and practice in fields of chronic pain and ‘contested’ illness conditions; mental health and emotional wellbeing; health promotion and lay concepts of health and illness.

Scholarly biography

Before entering higher education as a mature student, Gillian Bendelow worked in London's East End as a ward sister and community psychiatric nurse. She completed her ESRC funded PhD in sociocultural aspects of pain in 1992 as a founder member of the Social Science Research Unit, University of London under the supervision of Prof Ann Oakley. Since 2005, Gillian has held academic posts at the universities of Warwick and Sussex before her appointment as Professor in Sociology of Health and Medicine at the University of Brighton in 2014.

Since 2012, she has been an Honorary Senior Research Fellow with Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust working in close collaboration with Sussex Police and local authorities to improve access to emergency healthcare for vulnerable and suicidal people.


Knowledge exchange


  • Joint research leader of  Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust  R&D Research Theme in Personality, Emergency Care And Complexity  (PECC) since 2016
  •   Member of ERG National Centre for Collaboration in Mental Health for NHS England/ NICE  since Jan 2016
  • Advisory group Member of Brighton & Hove Suicide Prevention Strategy Committee BHCC since 2014
  • Member of Beachy Head Risk Management Group, East Sussex CC since 2013
  • Advisory Group for The Basement, Brighton and Hove Arts based health promotion and regular Panelist for Sick? Festival since 2013
  • Advisory Group for Chronic Pain Australia 2010-2015

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of London

Bachelor, Polytechnic of North London

External positions

Co-Editor, Sociology of Health and Illness Journal

1 Oct 20181 Oct 2021

Chair of ECR Review Panel Social Science & Humanities , Wellcome Trust

1 Sep 20151 Sep 2019

Honorary Senior Research Fellowship , Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust

1 Jan 2013 → …


  • RZ Other systems of medicine
  • chronic pain ,chronic illness, mental health and emotional wellbeing; health promotion, lay concepts of health and illness.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1996 2019

Police detentions of ‘mentally disordered persons’: A multi-method investigation of section 136 use in Sussex

Bendelow, G., Warrington, C., Jones, A-M. & Markham, S., 13 Apr 2019, In : Medicine, Science and the Law. 59, 2, p. 95-103 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
National Health Programs
human being
health service

S136 in Sussex: Final Report

Bendelow, G., Claire, W. & Jones, A-M., 1 Jan 2017, 33 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearch

Open Access
Mental Health

Diagnosing vulnerability and “dangerousness”: police use of Section 136 in England and Wales

Bendelow, G. & Menkes, D., 1 May 2014, In : Journal of Public Mental Health. 13, 2, p. 70-82 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
mental health
rural area
study attitude

Sociology of the body

Phipps, A. & Bendelow, G., 6 Jan 2014, The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behaviour and Society. Cockerham, W. C., Dingwall, R. & Quah, S. R. (eds.). Oxford UK: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 161-168 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch


Chronic pain patients and the biomedical model of pain

Bendelow, G., 31 May 2013, In : Virtual Mentor. 15, 5, p. 455-459 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review