Professor Tessa Parkes


Faculty of Social Sciences Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Tessa Parkes

Share a link

About me

Tessa is Research Director for the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research at the University of Stirling where she leads a number of research and knowledge exchange projects focused on the reduction of harms and promotion of health and well-being for those impacted by social and health inequalities.

Tessa has experience in the statutory and non-statutory health, social care and housing/ homelessness sectors as a front-line support worker, team leader, and mental health nurse, and has provided consultancy and training to a wide variety of organisations focused on service improvement to better meet the needs of healthcare users with mental health issues including related to problem use of substances. She has a track record of creating positive impact on policy and practice through research. For 20 years her research activity has centred on enhancing the experience of people who use health/social care services, with a clear commitment to social justice, health equity and advocacy for poorly serviced groups including people who use alcohol and drugs.

She participates in committees related to drugs and alcohol, such as the Ministerial Drugs Death Taskforce, is Grantholder and Deputy Convenor for the Drugs Research Network Scotland, and is a member of Research England’s Research Excellence Framework Equality and Diversity Panel (EDAP).


An international and intersectional dialogue on how to reduce harm and promote wellbeing amongst people who have housing, health and substance use challenges: A series of knowledge exchange events
Scottish Universities Insight Institute…827/Default.aspx
People who experience homelessness often have intersecting health problems including poor mental and physical health and problem substance use (Hewett & Halligan 2010). The co-occurrence of these three problems has been termed ‘tri-morbidity’. Problem substance use is often a contributing factor to someone becoming homeless and accounts for over a third of deaths in homeless people (Crisis 2011). Engagement with treatment services, particularly those which expect abstinence, can be extremely challenging (Collins et al. 2016). While harm reduction approaches are recommended for those unlikely to achieve abstinence (Raistrick et al. 2006), there is virtually no specific guidance on how harms from problem substance use can be reduced for homeless people. International models of care and housing provision exist but their relevance to Scotland has not been systematically explored. To address this gap we will create a dialogue on international, national and local best practices in this area and, most critically, on how we can work better together across sectors and disciplines to develop Scottish solutions. We will bring together a diverse group who have substantial knowledge of the issues to develop a nuanced understanding of the current position and how this can better inform policy and practice developments going forward.