Sharon Stevelink
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Personal profile

Biographical details

Dr Sharon Stevelink is a Reader in Epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (KCL) and an NIHR Advanced Fellow. Sharon drives a research agenda exploring occupational mental health and is interested in how working in high risk occupations such as the military, police force, fire brigade, ambulance services and the NHS, impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of workers. Her research interests include help-seeking behaviour, occupational functioning and the evaluation of interventions among those with mental health problems. In addition, she is interested in the impact of the UK benefits system on people with mental health problems.

Her projects often involve working closely with key players in the field of occupational mental health such as the Ministry of Defence, Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement, military charities and other third sector organisations,

Currently, Sharon is jointly based at the Department of Psychological Medicine and the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR). She is the Principal Investigator of the Occupation and PsychiaTrIc Morbidity consortiUM (OPTIMUM) which aims to accelerate our understanding of mental wellbeing in the workplace by using data linkages and routinely collected data to explore adult psychiatric morbidity in the workplace. The flagship project of OPTIMUM, funded by the NIHR, is a linkage of welfare, benefits and employment data from the Department for Work and Pensions with mental health electronic record data, creating the largest clinical cohort of UK adults (>300,000) referred to psychiatric services. She also co-leads; the ENABLE study, which explores the risk for progression from one long-term health condition to several and its impact on occupational outcomes, the NHS CHECK study, one of the largest longitudinal studies in the UK exploring the psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers, and the KCL CHECK study, a longitudinal study exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the King’s College London community. 

Sharon joined KCMHR in 2012. First as a post-doctoral researcher working on a mixed methods study of the mental health and experiences of visually impaired veterans and subsequently running a large quantitative interview study of the mental health, care pathways and barriers to treatment of serving and ex-serving personnel. She has since been involved in a number of studies in military populations and other occupational groups. Her research studies include: a detailed qualitative study exploring stigma and barriers to care among service leavers, an assessment of ‘Met4Vet’ - a mental health toolkit for military veterans, moral injury in UK Armed Forces veterans, service related mental ill-health and dementia in military veterans, an evaluation of HeadFIT – an intervention to foster mental fitness, adjustment disorder in military personnel, and a feasibility study of data extraction in patient case registers to identify treatment pathways for veterans accessing secondary mental healthcare services. She is also the co-organiser of the Veteran Research Advisory Group for KCMHR that brings together veterans to help shape and inform the research agenda of the Centre.

Sharon co-leads the TRIAD study, a longitudinal study focusing on how PTSD develops in UK Armed Forces personnel. She also led on the secondary data analysis of the Airwave study, exploring mental health outcomes among over 40,000 police officers and staff, and a study comparing mental health outcomes among emergency responders using data from the UK Biobank. 

Sharon lectures on a number of BSc and MSc courses at KCL including research methods and applied statistics and supervises a number of PhD students. Whereas Sharon has expertise in qualitative research, her main strengths are in conducting statistical analyses, mainly Stata, research methodology and epidemiology. She is always interested to hear from prospective PhD students and is keen to support and grow the future generation of researchers.

Public appointments

January 2023 - present: Independent Scientific Member of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council, UK

Education and Training

2019 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2017-2019 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education, KCL, UK

2011-2012 MSc in Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

2008-2011 MSc Management, Policy-Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, NLD

2005-2008 BSc Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, NLD

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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