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BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Maya Semrau

Dr Maya Semrau

A head and shoulders photo of Maya Semrau, taken outside in front of a green leafy tree

Dr Maya Semrau (PhD, MSc, MSc, BSc)

Senior Research Fellow in Implementation Research
T: +44 (0)1273 872788
Location: Ground Floor, BSMS Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Area of expertise: global mental health, stigma, Neglected Tropical Diseases, implementation research, co-morbidities, psychometric scale development, WHO guideline development 

Research areas: integration of physical health, mental health and psychosocial care for people with podoconiosis, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and leprosy in Ethiopia; reduction of stigma amongst people with mental health problems and/or Neglected Tropical Diseases; assessment of needs in humanitarian emergency settings



Maya joined the Global Health and Infection Department at BSMS in November 2017 as research fellow in implementation research as part of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

She has been working within global mental health since 2008, when she started her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London (in collaboration with the World Health Organization), developing a scale – the HESPER Scale – to assess the perceived needs of populations affected by humanitarian emergencies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since then, she has worked within the ‘Improving access to integrated Morbidity management and disability PREvention Services through Stigma reduction for people with lower limb lymphoedema in Ethiopia’ (IMPRESS) project at BSMS; the INDIGO Partnership and Network on a study to reduce mental-health-related stigma and discrimination through a local public knowledge and awareness-raising campaign in five LMICs in Africa and Asia; as scientific coordinator on the Emerald programme, which aimed to strengthen mental health systems in six LMICs in Africa and Asia; on a project by the ‘International Dementia Alliance’ (IDEAL) group, developing an international staging schedule for dementia; and as part of the core evidence review group for WHO guidelines on the management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorder. She also currently convenes the Mental Wellbeing and Stigma Working Group of the Disease Management, Disability and Inclusion (DMDI) of the NTD NGO Network (NNN).   

Maya has an MSc in Mental Health Service and Population Research (IoPPN), an MSc in Experimental Psychology (University of Sussex), and a BSc Honours in Human Sciences (University of Sussex).  


Maya currently works at BSMS on an implementation research study to integrate and scale-up a holistic care package involving physical health, mental health and psychosocial interventions for people with podoconiosis, LF and leprosy in Ethiopia. The study is being conducted by the ‘Excellence in Disability Prevention Integrated across Neglected Tropical Diseases’ (EnDPoINT) Consortium, as part of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases at BSMS. She also works on the IMPRESS study at BSMS, which focuses on how best to reduce stigma within the integrated morbidity management and disability prevention EnDPoINT programme.



Maya currently supervises PhD and MSc students at BSMS, as well as teaching on the MSc in Global Health. She has previously supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students at the IoPPN, King’s College London, where she also co-led and taught several modules of the Global Mental Health MSc, as well as having taught as part of the Global Mental Health Summer School at the IoPPN and the Global Health short course at St. Mary’s, Imperial College London.

Selected publications

Semrau M, Davey G, Beng AA, Ndongmo WPC, Njouendou AJ, Wanji S, Deribe K. Depressive symptoms amongst people with podoconiosis and lower limb lymphoedema of other cause in Cameroon: A cross-sectional study. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2019; 4(3): E102, doi:10.3390/tropicalmed4030102

Semrau M, Alem A, Ayuso-Mateos JL, Chisholm D, Gureje O, Hanlon C, Jordans M, Kigozi F, Lund C, Petersen I, Shidhaye R, Thornicroft G. Strengthening mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries: recommendations from the Emerald programme. BJPsych Open. 2019; 5(5): e73

Tora A, Mengiste A, Davey G, Semrau M. Community involvement in the care of persons affected by podoconiosis – A lesson for other skin NTDs. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2018; 3(3):87

Semrau M, Alem A, Abdulmalik J, Docrat S, Evans-Lacko S, Gureje O, Kigozi F, Lempp H, Lund C, Petersen I, Shidhaye R, Thornicroft G, Hanlon C. Developing capacity-building activities for mental health system strengthening in low- and middle-income countries for service users and caregivers, service planners and researchers. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. 2017, DOI:

Semrau M, Lempp H, Keynejad R, Evans-Lacko S, Mugisha J, Raja S, Lamichhane J, Alem A, Thornicroft G, Hanlon C. Service user and caregiver involvement in mental health system strengthening in low- and middle-income countries: systematic review. BMC Health Services Research. 2016, 16:79. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1323-8

Semrau M, Evans-Lacko S, Alem A, Ayuso-Mateos JL, Chisholm D, Gureje O, Hanlon C, Jordans M, Kigozi F, Lempp H, Lund C, Petersen I, Shidhaye R, Thornicroft G. Strengthening mental health systems in low and middle-income countries: the Emerald programme. BMC Medicine. 2015; 13: 79

Semrau M, Evans-Lacko S, Koschorke M, Ashenafi L, Thornicroft G. Stigma and discrimination related to mental illness in low and middle income countries. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. 2015; 24(5): 382-394

Semrau M, van Ommeren M, Blagescu M, Griekspoor A, Howard LM, Jordans M, Lempp H, Marini A, Pedersen J, Pilotte I, Slade M, Thornicroft G. The development and psychometric properties of the Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs (HESPER) Scale. American Journal of Public Health. 2012; 102(10):e55-63

Eaton J, McCay L, Semrau M, Chatterjee S, Baingana F, Araya R, Ntulo C, Thornicroft G, Saxena S. Scale up services for mental health in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet. 2011; 378(9802):1592-1603

Semrau M, Barley EA, Law A, Thornicroft G. Lessons learned in developing community mental health care in Europe. World Psychiatry. 2011; 10(3):217-225  

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