Ulm University

The Department of Psychiatry II, University of Ulm and BKH Günzburg, Germany, led by Prof. Thomas Becker, has a strong focus on mental health service research, including stigma, unemployment, gender, service user involvement and recovery.


Prof. Nicolas Rüsch, is Professor of Public Mental Health and consultant psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Germany. After his clinical training in adult psychiatry and neurology in Germany and Italy he worked for two years as EU research fellow with Prof. Pat Corrigan, Chicago, on mental illness stigma. Later he studied stigma among young people at risk, in community samples as well as in intervention contexts, including the peer-led Coming Out Proud (now: Honest Open Proud) program, in Zürich, Switzerland. His recent work includes disclosure decisions in adolescents as well as in soldiers with mental health problems; and unemployment, mental health and service use.


Bernd Puschner graduated in psychology („Diploma“) at Saarland University in 1996. In 1999, he joined the Center for Psychotherapy Research in Stuttgart where he was responsible for conducting a large-scale longitudinal observational study on the effectiveness of routine outpatient psychotherapy.In 2003, shortly after earning his PhD, Bernd moved to Ulm University’s Department of Psychiatry II (head Thomas Becker), BKH Günzburg, Germany, to start working as senior researcher. There, he acquired grants for and co-led two randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of progress monitoring and discharge planning in the treatment people with severe mental illness. Since 2009, he is principal investigator of the EU funded multicenter study “Clinical decision making and outcome in routine care for people with severe mental illness” (CEDAR).

Bernd’s major research interest is process-outcome research in mental health care including the use of advanced methods for the analysis of longitudinal data (e.g. hierarchical linear models), the application and development of standardized and feasible outcome measures, and the analysis of predictors of mental health.

Nadine Koslowski is a PhD student at the Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Germany. After receiving her Master Degree in Prevention and Health Promotion in Flensburg, Germany, she worked as research associate with Dr. Bernd Puschner, Ulm, on intellectual disability and mental health care provision. Currently she is working on the adaptation of the peer-led Honest Open Proud program for both adolescents and soldiers with mental health problems in order to support them in their disclosure decisions.

Markus Kösters. After graduating in psychology at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, Markus Kösters started to work as researcher at the Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Germany. His major research interests include evidence based psychiatry and the translation of evidence into practice. He conducted meta-analyses on various antidepressants and complex interventions, such as guideline implementation studies or discharge planning in psychiatry. These projects were realised in national or international collaborations. He is an active contributor to the Cochrane Collaboration. He has also been involved and led projects analysing statutory health insurance data sets, which focused on antidepressant utilisation and quality indicators for psychiatric care.

Nathalie Oexle is a PhD-student in Public Mental Health at the University of Ulm and BKH Günzburg, Germany, and supported by a scholarship from the German Scholarship Foundation. Before she joined the research group led by Prof. Nicolas Rüsch in October 2015, she obtained a Master`s degree in Public Health Science at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to her undergraduate studies in Exercise and Health Science at the Technical University Munich, Germany, and the University of Miami, Florida, USA, she completed several research internships both at national and international institutions. Today, her research interests lie within the field of mental illness stigma, with a special focus on suicide stigma. Additionally, more recent work also includes research on anti-stigma interventions in workplace settings. 

Silvia Krumm is a sociologist and researcher at the Department for Psychiatry II at Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Germany. After 3 years of professional training in nursing at the Psychiatric Hospital of Emmendingen, she studied sociology and history at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany. She then worked at the Institute for Social Sciences and Gender Studies (Soffi K.) in Freiburg, Germany, as a research associate. She has been conducting studies on family planning and parenthood issues in the context of mental health and illness at the Department for Psychiatry II at Ulm University since 2003. From 2013 to 2014 she held a visiting professorship for “Community Psychiatry” at Hochschule Fulda (University for Applied Science). Her main research interest is on gender and parental issues in the context of psychiatry. She provides lectures and training on all aspects of qualitative methods within social psychiatry research.

Tobias Staiger is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Psychiatry II, University of Ulm and BKH Günzburg, Germany. After his degree in social work he worked in the field of addiction aid and vocational assistance for unemployed youth in problem situations. After studying Public Health at the University of Bielefeld he completed his PhD on workplace health, stress and gender. It was supported by a scholarship from the Hans-Böckler-Foundation.

His recent work focuses on stigma and poor mental health literacy as barriers to service use among unemployed people with mental illness.