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Research – mental health

Co-production in mental health: not just another guide (2018)

This guide shares learning about:

  • where and how things are working well
  • features of different models of co-production
  • how co-production contributes to delivering better experiences and outcomes for people with mental health conditions
  • others’ views of hurdles and how to overcome them.

We took a three pronged approach to gather information for the guide.

  1. We conducted a review of the existing co-production knowledge base, including theory, guides, frameworks and examples from mental health services.
  2. We spoke to a range of people who are using co-production in mental health services in England, including people with lived experience, practitioners, managers and commissioners from the NHS, local authorities and non-statutory organisations.
  3. We used the findings from our review of the existing knowledge base and meetings with relevant people to:
  • identify the issues that both hinder and support co-production – what’s stopping you and what makes it happen?
  • produce examples and case studies that show how others are working co-productively in a variety of settings and with transferable learning
  • develop a set of top tips that will support progress towards co-production in mental health services.

Keywords: mental health, co-production, guide

Contributed by: Kate Livsky, NDTI (National Development Team for Inclusion)



End of life care for people with severe mental illness: an evidence synthesis (the MENLOC study) (2018-2020)

Improving the physical health care of people with severe mental illness is a national and international priority. In this NIHR-funded project we identify and bring together research and other evidence relating to end of life care for people with severe mental illness who have an additional diagnosis of advanced, incurable, cancer and/or end-stage major organ failure, and who are likely to die within the next 12 months.

In order to describe the character of the overall literature in this area we will map all the information we find on end of life care for people with severe mental illness, before producing a comprehensive, thematic, synthesis. This will report on services, processes and interventions and on what service users, professionals and carers have said about their experiences.

Our project team includes people with backgrounds as academics, mental health and end of life professionals, information specialists, service users and carers. The original idea for the study and the proposal itself were shaped by people with experience of mental health problems, cancer and other long-term conditions, and by people with experience of caring. Our stakeholder advisory group includes policymakers, senior managers, practitioners, academics, service users and carers. We will use members’ expertise to inform the decisions we make, and will work with them to publicise our findings in accessible ways. In preparing this proposal we also presented our plans to the Patient Experience and Evaluation in Research (PEER) group at Swansea University in order to ensure that lived experience was appropriately valued throughout the research process.

Our findings are intended to identify evidence of factors helping and hindering high-quality end of life care for people with severe mental illness who have an additional diagnosis of advanced, incurable, cancer and/or end-stage major organ failure, and evidence relating to services, processes, interventions, views and experiences.

Project report:

End of life care for people with severe mental illness: an evidence synthesis (the MENLOC study), Paul Gill, Sally Anstey, Alan Meudell, Roger Pratt, Deborah Edwards, Mala Mann, Michael Coffey

Keywords: end-of-life care, mental health, evidence review, PEER

Contributed by: Michael Coffey – Swansea University



Cross national comparative study of recovery focused mental health care planning in inpatient acute settings (2014-2016)

This NIHR-funded project aimed to ascertain the views and experiences of service users, carers and staff to enable us to identify factors that facilitated or acted as barriers to collaborative, recovery-focused care and to make suggestions for future research.

A cross-national comparative mixed-methods study involving 19 mental health wards in six NHS sites in England and Wales included a metanarrative synthesis of policies and literature; a survey of service users and staff; embedded case studies involving interviews with staff, service users and carers; and a review of care plans and meetings.

Our results suggest that there is positive practice taking place within acute inpatient wards, with evidence of widespread commitment to safe, respectful, compassionate care. Although ideas of recovery were evident, there was some uncertainty about and discrepancy in the relevance of recovery ideals to inpatient care and the ability of people in acute distress to engage in recovery-focused approaches. Despite the fact that staff spoke of efforts to involve them, the majority of service users and carers did not feel that they had been genuinely involved, although they were aware of efforts to keep them safe.

We concluded that mental health service users in acute inpatient wards, whether informal or detained, should be involved in planning and reviewing their care. Care planning processes should be personalised and focused on recovery, with goals that are specific to the individual and designed to maximise their achievements and social integration.

Project report:

Cross-national mixed-methods comparative case study of recovery-focused mental health care planning and co-ordination in acute inpatient mental health settings, Health Service Delivery Research 5:26 2017, Alan Simpson, Michael Coffey, Ben Hannigan, Sally Barlow, Rachel Cohen, Aled Jones, Alison Faulkner, Alexandra Thornton, Jitka Všetečková, Mark Haddad, Karl Marlowe

Keywords: mental health, recovery-focus, in-patient, PEER

Contributed by: Michael Coffey – Swansea University



PhD. A Realist evaluation of a recovery-oriented in-patient facility: what works for whom, in what contexts and how? (2017-2020)

Recovery-oriented in-patient facility evaluation.

My PhD research focuses on evaluating a new in-patient facility run by a mental health charity in Wales. I will be using realist evaluation to research their philosophy of care, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention and Physical Health Education intervention.

Keywords: realist evaluation, mental health recovery, in-patient facility

Link currently unavailable

Contributed by: Amy Pritchard – Swansea University



PhD. An examination of the feasibility, opportunities and challenges of Ecotherapy as an effective intervention for mental health service users in Wales. (2016-2019)

Ecotherapy is a broad term generally applied to a diverse range of therapeutic activities undertaken outdoors in so called ‘natural’ environments. These activities include gardening, walking, bushcraft and surfing. My research will engage with people taking part in existing projects across this spectrum of activities in South Wales. I am building on an evidence base that points strongly towards ecotherapy being a beneficial and very cost effective intervention to aid sustained recovery of mental wellbeing. My particular project will apply an ethnographic methodology to explore the richly situational aspects of ecotherapy that resonate in the lived experience of participants. Through this I hope to identify emergent themes that can point towards effective future trajectories for making ecotherapy more widely available in Wales.

Keywords: ecotherapy, nature, connection, ethnography, mutuality, decolonisation

Related articles:

Identifying and resisting the technological drift: green space, blue space and ecotherapy, Social Theory & Health, February 2019, Edward Lord, Michael Coffrey

Contributed by: Ed Lord – Swansea University




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