Summer research catch-up

Some time away and pressure of work explain the absence of recent posts on this site. So here’s a catch-up. In COCAPP, data generation and analysis are pressing ahead, whilst COCAPP-A (which is asking questions about care planning in acute mental health hospitals) has officially commenced. Plan4Recovery (which is concerned with shared decision-making and social connections for people using mental health services) is generating data. The draft final report from the RiSC study has now been peer reviewed and is back with us, the research team, for revisions. Methods and findings from this project (an evidence synthesis in the area of risk for young people moving into, through and out of inpatient mental health hospital) were also presented last month at the CAMHS conference at the University of Northampton. Many thanks to Steven Pryjmachuk for doing this.

Further conference presentations, from all but COCAPP-A, will also be delivered at this year’s NPNR conference. And, for the first time, I’m off to an event organised by Horatio: European Psychiatric Nurses. Horatio is a member of ESNO: European Specialist Nurses Organisations, and the event I’m speaking at in November is the 3rd European Festival of Psychiatric Nursing. One of the papers I’m delivering is titled, ‘Mental health nursing, complexity and change’. Here’s my abstract:

In this presentation I principally draw on two studies conducted in the UK to share some cumulative insights into the interconnected worlds of mental health policy, services, work (including that of nurses) and the experiences of users. I first set the scene with a brief review of the historic system-wide shift away from hospitals in favour of care being increasingly provided to people in their own homes. I emphasise the importance of this development for the mental health professions, and show how community care opened up new jurisdictional opportunities for nurses, social workers and others. I then draw on data from a project using a comparative case study design and ethnographic methods to show how the everyday work of mental health nurses (and others) is shaped both by larger jurisdictional claims and the contextual peculiarities of the workplace. From this same project I also show how the detailed, prospective, study of unfolding service user trajectories can lay bare true divisions of labour, including the contributions made by people other than mental health professionals (including support staff without professional accreditation, community pharmacists and lay carers) and by users themselves. I then introduce the second study, an investigation into crisis resolution and home treatment (CRHT) services, with an opening account of the unprecedented policymaking interest shown in the mental health system from the end of the 1990s. CRHT services appeared in this context, alongside other new types of community team, and I draw on detailed ethnographic case study data to examine crisis work, the wider system impact of setting up new CRHT services and the experiences of users. I close the presentation overall with some reflections on the cumulative lessons learned from these linked studies, and with some speculative ideas (on which I invite discussion) on the continued reshaping of the mental health system at a time of economic constraint, health policy contestation and political devolution.

I’ve given myself something of a challenge in attempting all this in a single concurrent session, but I’ll do my best and can signpost interested participants to papers I have published in these areas. One of my reasons for heading off to the Horatio event (in Malta, as it happens) is to make connections with international colleagues, with whom I might usefully share my projects, interests and ideas and perhaps find common ground.

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