Mental health across the life course

NPNR twitter logoThe theme for this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference is Mental health across the life course. We’re convening in Nottingham on September 15th and 16th, and I’m very much looking forward. With help from André Tomlin (of the Mental Elf Service) we’re aiming to organise some pre-conference social media events: watch out for more on this, including via the new @npnrconf Twitter account. We’re also hoping to add some social media to the conference itself, including streaming. Very exciting.

Best of all, of course, is to come along to the conference as a delegate. This is an event which prides itself on its friendliness. Here are the keynote speakers:

  • Luciana Berger MP – Former Shadow Minister (Mental Health)
  • Elaine Hanzak, Inspirational speaker and author on perinatal mental health
  • Professor John Keady – Professor of Older People’s Mental Health Nursing, University of Manchester
  • Professor Steven Pryjmachuk – Professor of Mental Health Nursing Education, University of Manchester
  • Dr Bryn Lloyd-Evans – Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care/ CORE Programme Manager, University College London

 

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COCAPP Knowledge Transfer

Last week I joined the rest of the COCAPP team at an all-day event at City University London, designed to help NHS staff, service users and carers make use of what we found. I was pleased to meet Donna Kemp, who has since written about her experiences of the day. I thought it would be a nice idea to reblog this.

donnajkemp

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to the COCAPP Knowledge Transfer event held at City University London on 21st July 2016. You can read more about this here.

It was great to meet people face to face, beyond Twitter – particularly Alan Simpson (PI) Ben Hannigan, and Michael Coffey who are leading this important NIHR funded research, #COCAPPimpact.

Whats really good about this piece of research is that it is within my area of interest and that the method used aimed to address care planning on 3 levels – macro (national), meso (organisation) and micro (care delivery, face to face). To achieve this they used a mixed methods approach . The fabulousness of this is that it answered the research question on the 3 levels, perhaps anticipating that tackling one level in isolation would give rise to questions in the other levels. Adding to the credibility is…

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Mental health and Europe

I am all for interdependence and collaboration, and take no pleasure in the prospect of the UK casting itself adrift from the European Union. With MSc students I have sometimes discussed global mental health, and policy in this area. This has included talking about work led by the EU. Derived from my teaching, here for information are some of the initiatives member states have taken together.

First is 2005’s Green Paper, Improving the mental health of the population: towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union. Green Papers stimulate discussion, and this one made its case for action with reference to the extent of mental health need across Europe, the cost to economies and the problem of social exclusion.

Next up is the European pact for mental health and wellbeing, which in 2008 presented five priorities against a background of rising rates of mental illness:

  • Prevention of depression and suicide
  • Mental health in youth and education
  • Mental health in workplace settings
  • Mental health of older people
  • Combating stigma and social exclusion

The Joint action mental health and wellbeing from 2013 uses its funds to address these five areas:

  • Depression, suicide and e-health
  • Community-based approaches
  • Mental health at workplaces
  • Mental health and schools
  • Mental health in all policies [which recognises how policy in non-health areas can have an effect on mental health]

The European Union also supports mental health research. Take, for example, the work of the ROAMER consortium which has agreed a series of research priorities. Here they are:

  • Preventing mental disorders, promoting mental health and focusing on young people
  • Focusing on causal mechanisms of mental disorders
  • Setting up international collaborations and networks for mental health research
  • Developing and implementing new and better interventions for mental health and well-being
  • Reducing stigma and empowering service users and carer
  • Research into health and social systems

For a comprehensive list of Horizon 2020 and FP7 projects in the field of mental health, try following this link.

Leaving the EU will greatly diminish opportunities for people in the UK to cooperate with people in Europe to tackle our shared problems, of which mental ill-health and its associated stigma is most definitely one. On the research front, post-EU referendum some in UK universities are already reporting that their collaborations with academics in other EU member states are under threat. Suffice to say I wish the vote on June 23rd had gone the other way.

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Ordinary risks and accepted fictions

Ordinary risksThis new paper you need to read. You also can, because it is published in gold open access form and is therefore free to download to anyone with an internet connection. Lead authored by Michael Coffey, and arising from the larger COCAPP study (see also here, here and here), it draws on qualitative data to examine in detail what staff, service users and carers say about risk assessment and management. Here’s the abstract:

Background

Communication and information sharing are considered crucial to recovery-focused mental health services. Effective mental health care planning and coordination includes assessment and management of risk and safety.

Objective

Using data from our cross-national mixed-method study of care planning and coordination, we examined what patients, family members and workers say about risk assessment and management and explored the contents of care plans.

Design

Thematic analysis of qualitative research interviews (n = 117) with patients, family members and workers, across four English and two Welsh National Health Service sites. Care plans were reviewed (n = 33) using a structured template.

Findings

Participants have contrasting priorities in relation to risk. Patients see benefit in discussions about risk, but cast the process as a worker priority that may lead to loss of liberty. Relationships with workers are key to family members and patients; however, worker claims of involving people in the care planning process do not extend to risk assessment and management procedures for fear of causing upset. Workers locate risk as coming from the person rather than social or environmental factors, are risk averse and appear to prioritize the procedural aspects of assessment.

Conclusions

Despite limitations, risk assessment is treated as legitimate work by professionals. Risk assessment practice operates as a type of fiction in which poor predictive ability and fear of consequences are accepted in the interests of normative certainty by all parties. As a consequence, risk adverse options are encouraged by workers and patients steered away from opportunities for ordinary risks thereby hindering the mobilization of their strengths and abilities.

Reported here is one of the most important sets of findings arising from the COCAPP study. Diana Rose has written a post on the article, which is scheduled to appear on the inestimable Mental Elf site next week. I’m very much looking forward to reading that.

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Resilience of community mental health nurses in Palestine

Earlier this week a new article lead authored by Mohammad Marie, and co-authored by Aled Jones and me, was published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. The title of the article is Resilience of nurses who work in community mental
health workplaces in Palestine
, and is the second paper arising from Mohammad’s completed PhD. As the article appears in gold open access form copies can be directly downloaded from the journal’s website for free: or indeed, by clicking either the hyperlinked title or image above.

The larger part of Mohammad’s qualitative dataset is interviews conducted with CMHNs working in the West Bank. Fifteen practitioners took part, from a total population of 17. For the record, that’s 17 community mental health nurses for a population of some three million people. That’s an astonishingly low number by UK standards; for more on mental health needs and services in Palestine, the place to go is Mohammad’s first paper (Mental health needs and services in the West Bank, Palestine) about which I previously blogged here.

Here is the abstract from this latest paper:

People in Palestine live and work in a significantly challenging environment. As a result of these challenges they have developed resilient responses which are embedded in their cultural context. ‘Sumud’, in particular, is a socio-political concept which refers to ways of surviving in the context of occupation, chronic adversity, lack of resources and limited infrastructure. Nurses’ work in Palestine is an under-researched subject and very little is known about how nurses adjust to such challenging environments. To address this gap in the literature this study aimed to explore the resilience of community mental health nurses (CMHNs) who work in Palestine. An interpretive qualitative design was chosen. Fifteen face-to-face interviews were completed with participants. Thirty-two hours of observations of the day-to-day working environment and workplace routines were conducted in two communities’ mental health centres. Written documents relating to practical job-related policies were also collected from various workplaces. Thematic analysis was used across all data sources resulting in four main themes, which describe the sources of resilience among CMHNs. These sources are ‘Sumud and Islamic cultures’, ‘Supportive relationships’, ‘Making use of the available resources’, and ‘Personal capacity’. The study concludes with a better understanding of resilience in nursing, which draws on wider cultural contexts and social ecological responses. The outcomes from this study will be used to develop the resilience of CMHNs in Palestine.

The idea of ‘Samud’ which is referred to above is an important one in Mohammad’s work, and (as I have learned) for Palestinian people. Drawing on the work of Toine Van Teeffelen, here is what Mohammad says about it in his thesis:

[Samud] is the art of living to survive and thrive on their homeland in spite of hardship and under occupation practices. These skills of how to live are used in different aspects of life such as economic, political and social. They can also be used at many levels: individual, family and within the Palestinian community. Moreover, Sumud has been divided into two types: tangible resources such as the infrastructure supporting basic needs (for example, schools and hospitals) which enable the existence of the Palestinians on their land and help them to be more resilient. In addition intangible sources of Sumud also exist, which include: belief systems, religion and social and family support which help the Palestinians to cope with their chronic daily collective suffering.

For Mohammad, Samud is closely related to the more familiar (to me, at any rate) idea of resilience. Or, more properly put, Samud connects to social ecological variants of resilience which place as much emphasis on the social and cultural as they do on the individual.

I’ll stop here and leave people to download and read this new paper for themselves. For those interested, Mohammad, Aled and I are working on further publications from this doctorate: so more will follow in due course.

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Understanding mental health systems and services — Mental Health / Iechyd Meddwl

Here’s a link to my first post for a new Cardiff University Mental Health Blog. The content will be broadly familar to people who have dipped into my personal blog in the past, insofar as I have chosen to say something general about doing mental health services research.

Working in collaboration with colleagues across the UK, including with people who have directly used services, researchers in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University study mental health systems.

via Understanding mental health systems and services — Mental Health / Iechyd Meddwl

Clicking the hyperlink above, which appears beneath the brief snippet of text, will take you to the full piece. There are already some interesting other posts on the site, too, including a piece by Mike Owen written as an opener.

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COCAPP main findings

In a post last week I drew attention to a recent run of publications, promising to write a single post for each as it appears. Yesterday saw the appearance of Recovery-focused care planning and coordination in England and Wales: a cross-national mixed methods comparative case study. This is the main findings paper from COCAPP, published in BMC Psychiatry. Here’s the abstract, for readers wanting a taster:

Background: In the UK, concerns about safety and fragmented community mental health care led to the development of the care programme approach in England and care and treatment planning in Wales. These systems require service users to have a care coordinator, written care plan and regular reviews of their care. Processes are required to be collaborative, recovery-focused and personalised but have rarely been researched. We aimed to obtain the views and experiences of stakeholders involved in community mental health care and identify factors that facilitate or act as barriers to personalised, collaborative, recovery-focused care.

Methods: We conducted a cross-national comparative study employing a concurrent transformative mixed-methods approach with embedded case studies across six service provider sites in England and Wales. The study included a survey of views on recovery, empowerment and therapeutic relationships in service users (n = 448) and recovery in care coordinators (n = 201); embedded case studies involving interviews with service providers, service users and carers (n = 117) and a review of care plans (n = 33). Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed within and across sites using inferential statistics, correlations and framework method.

Results: Significant differences were found across sites for scores on therapeutic relationships. Variation within sites and participant groups was reported in experiences of care planning and understandings of recovery and personalisation. Care plans were described as administratively burdensome and were rarely consulted. Carers reported varying levels of involvement. Risk assessments were central to clinical concerns but were rarely discussed with service users. Service users valued therapeutic relationships with care coordinators and others, and saw these as central to recovery.

Conclusions: Administrative elements of care coordination reduce opportunities for recovery-focused and personalised work. There were few common understandings of recovery which may limit shared goals. Conversations on risk appeared to be neglected and assessments kept from service users. A reluctance to engage in dialogue about risk management may work against opportunities for positive risk-taking as part of recovery-focused work. Research to investigate innovative approaches to maximise staff contact time with service users and carers, shared decision-making in risk assessments, and training designed to enable personalised, recovery focused care coordination is indicated.

People may be interested to learn that COCAPP will also be the subject of a Mental Elf blog and podcast in a week or so’s time:

And, for those wanting the fine-grained detail, there is always our main report to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme.


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