About Hannah

Research Worker at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

Lights, Camera, Action! Connecting People Study Filming

cameraSince finishing travelling the length and breadth of England to deliver training to the agencies participating in the pilot of the Connecting People Study, the team have been discussing how to ensure that all of the knowledge that we learnt whilst doing this training was captured and did not go to waste.  We have had so many valuable discussions with workers and individuals from many different perspectives that we wanted to find a way to encapsulate this knowledge effectively.  We also wanted to ensure that other agencies and organisations could benefit from working using the Connecting People Intervention, without us going to train them personally.

We were recently successful with an application for an additional modest grant from the NIHR School for Social Care Research to help us take this work forward. The grant will enable us to create a training package encompassing video footage of the Connecting People Intervention in action, as well as training activities to allow an agency to train itself independently, which will be documented in a training manual

We have teamed up with Old Trafford Community TV to create the videos for the training package. Filming started at our   London Connecting People event in February, where we captured the views of workers both new to the model and already working within the pilot sites.  There were lots of really useful sound-bites and clips from the panel discussion, interviews afterwards, and the training sessions that we will be incorporating into the training package.

The next step is to travel between various agencies engaged with the pilot study and record footage of their practice as examples of the model in practice. This will range from tours of their facilities and interviews with managers about business issues to chats with individual and worker partnerships about their experiences, and footage of the stages of the model in action.  We are also looking to run another training day to help boost one lucky agency’s knowledge of the model, and capturing some of the harder to describe training exercises on camera.  In addition, animated case studies, presentations of the research and policy background of the intervention, and a detailed explanation of the model will all be included.

The aim is to create a package that can be viewed as short, standalone videos that demonstrate certain aspects of the model; but can also be used as a whole (along with training activities) to allow an agency to start training from scratch.  By adding in all of these elements we hope to produce something dynamic and impactful, which will fit with written training materials and the Practice Guidance to give the full picture of the Connecting People Intervention.

If you have any ideas of things that you would like to see included in this training package, please contact us on cpis@gmail.com


Connecting People in the media

Earlier this week, Martin our principle investigator was informed that a short article that he had written recently was now up on the Mental Health Care website. The article gives a concise introduction to the workings of the Connecting People model, as well as touching on the social capital theory that lies behind it.

The Mental Health Care website provides reliable information for the friends and family of people with psychosis – aiming to be a source that avoids some of the inaccurate and stigmatising information that the internet can be riddled with.

You can read and download the article here

Our article has been placed as a download in the ‘recovery’ section, where we feel that it fits perfectly.  We are lucky that it has been one of the top downloads this week from the site.  It is great to see that the families and friends of individuals with psychosis – a group of people that can be so key to the success of the Connecting People Intervention – are clearly interested in what we are doing.

We hope that you will be seeing a lot more about the study across various websites and forms of media.  Indeed, if you have an idea of a website, initiative, or social media platform that you believe we could be taking advantage of to further publicise our work, please do get in touch by contacting us.

 

 

 

 

What others think

For the final update, we decided to take a look at what workers who have recently been trained in the model thought of the intervention.  Martin spoke recently to Griff Jones, Social Care Lead and Approved Mental Health Professional in Derby City Council, about this recently.  He writes about this here.  You can read the full article and many more relevant posts on Martin’s blog – take a look!

“One of the aims of the Connecting People Study is to help articulate aspects of mental health social work practice which have been largely undefined.

For too long social workers in mental health settings have found it difficult to articulate the unique contribution they make beyond their statutory functions. The Social Perspectives Network, amongst others, have helped to make the case for social work, but there remains a lack of high quality research evidence on the effectiveness of mental health social work.

The Connecting People Study provides an intervention framework which is amenable to rigorous evaluation. It resonates with mental health social workers and early feedback from practitioners suggests that it helps to define their role in connecting people with others to assist their recovery.

Griff Jones chose to participate in the pilot study to help social workers articulate and evidence their role in mental health teams. He told me:

“In choosing to participate in the study, I felt that it dovetailed very well with the move towards self directed support and would help social care colleagues to be able to use a model which would guide and inform their practice. I was particularly attracted to the partnership approach to work with clients as this also linked into the recovery model in mental health.

I feel that the intervention helps to enable social workers to identify what they are able to offer in the field of mental health, particularly in relation to developing and enhancing individuals circles of support and looking to link in with community resources.

The staff who attended the training have responded very favourably to the intervention, in particular as it has helped them to reflect on what their role is as social care staff working in Mental Health Services.

At present within Derby there is a review of what social workers do in mental health services as the local authority seeks to ensure that our practice is more reflective of their objectives rather than being, in the main, just meeting Trust objectives. The intervention will hopefully be used to help inform this review so that any future service model is based on core social work values”.

We are hopeful that the study will help social workers to articulate their role and provide evidence about its outcomes so that reviews and service reconfigurations can be more evidence-based than they appear to be at present”.

That’s it for our updates.  We hope that you have found it useful to read them, and get to know how we are getting along with the study.  If you have any further questions on any of these posts, please get in touch by emailing hannah.reidy@kcl.ac.uk

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Systematic review

Today, Meredith tells us about her work with Sharon on the systematic reviews:

“Sharon and Meredith have been busy over the summer completing three related systematic reviews.  The purpose of these reviews was to identify research focussed on health and social care interventions that promote the enhancement of social networks for 1) adults and 2) older adults with mental health needs, and 3) adults with a learning disability. 

 With only 26 studies across the three reviews meeting inclusion criteria, the small sample limits the overall findings of effectiveness.  The diverse studies that were identified provide evidence for the use health and social care interventions across a range of mental health needs.  Additionally, several key features were found across numerous successful interventions that are also components in the Connecting People Intervention (CPI) Model: strengths- and asset-based approaches such as goal setting, problem-solving techniques, social skill development; an aim to enhance the worker/service user relationship; and engagement in activities for which participants had an existing interest.  Whilst results from the small sample should be considered with caution, we also consider these key features integral aspects of the CPI model.  

The findings from these reviews underline the assertion that future interventions are needed to enhance social network development in vulnerable adults with mental health needs.   The three reviews offer the most comprehensive assessment of the evidence of interventions aimed to enhance social participation and wellbeing in mental health populations to date. There is a clear gap in evidence for effective health and social care interventions, and the few studies that are available reflect the disparate nature of research in this field.

 We are currently in the process of submitting the reviews for publication and will keep you updated on the progress in coming months.  If you’re not currently subscribed to the blog, please enter your email address on the right side of the Home page and we will be sure to let you know when the reviews have been published”

Technology and the intervention

For today’s blog post, Ian talks about how the work he has done with the Connecting People team has created a sleeker, more engaging set of materials.

“The team have been and continue to be involved with the training of agencies across the country in how to implement the Connecting People model.

To aid this process we have created a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered at these sessions. The presentation incorporates a narration by the Connecting People team and animated sequences which help to communicate the different elements involved in the model. 

We have recently held a meeting with an advisory group which highlighted areas in which this could be improved. The comments of the advisory group were appreciated and the team are currently looking at ways to incorporate these improvements into the presentation. 

You can view a draft version of the model here: Connecting People Presentation V4 Please note that this is only a draft and has yet to be finalised and approved.

In addition to this, as part of the agency training sessions we ask them to create their own version of the model that applies to their organisation. 

Before…

This is done on flip chart paper to encourage constant amending and editing during the course of the training.  After the training, these rough drafts of models are taken and fitted to the powerpoint slide depicting the model, providing each agency with a bespoke version of the intervention that they can really work with. 

These are just a couple of the ways in which we are using IT and technology to work better with the intervention”.

…and after!

Designing the information for individuals leaflets

Today, Hannah talks a little about one of the other aspects of our work – designing the leaflets that give information to individuals participating in the study.

Advisory group in progress on the Isle of Wight

“When an individual attending an agency or organisation is asked if they would like to take part in the ‘connecting people study’, they will probably not know exactly what this will entail.  To help with this situation, we have been creating a leaflet that gives straight-forward, practical information to these individuals about what they can expect from the intervention and what they will need to do.

We are very aware that the different client groups who will be working through the intervention have very different requirements from this leaflet.  To make sure that we create material that is directly relevant to them, we decided to hold advisory groups with representatives from each client group.  The first of these was in Somerset, where we worked with several individuals who had suffered with mental health problems.  Their feedback on what they would need to know, and how they would want the leaflet structured provided us with a solid knowledge base to start working from.  We created a double sided, a4 leaflet with quotes from individuals who were already a part of the Connecting People Intervention, and clearly written sections about what to expect.  Following their advice, we made the leaflet bright, clean and colourful, and included photos of individuals from agencies working with the intervention.

We took this leaflet to our next advisory group, a group of around 25 individuals on the Isle of Wight who have learning disabilities.  This group wanted a completely different format – rather than a leaflet they wanted a step-by-step ‘map’ of the intervention process.  We used their ideas to create a pictorial map of what to expect.  We then used the comments that they gave about what was most salient to know about the intervention to create a more text-based guide on the reverse of the map.  This is aimed at the worker, to use as a script and run through with the individual to ensure that they understand.

Researchers and participants at the end of the advisory group

These two groups of people have helped us to create truly tailored information sheets for the individuals who will benefit from the intervention – and given us ideas that we would not have considered ourselves.  We are looking forward very much to the advisory group with older adults living with mental health problems, and are intrigued to know how different their suggestions are from the others”

First interviews…

Today, Sharon – one of the researchers on the pilot study – tells us a little about her recent work within the Connecting People team.

Recently, the Systematic Reviews have been written up in draft format, and for the Learning Disabilities population group, we are now shortlisting potential journals we can publish in which is very exciting!

The first of the interviews commenced last month very successfully, four interviews were conducted throughout one day and we would like to thank the agency who recruited participants and aided with the organisation of these first interviews. It was great to complete the first of many interviews, and each participant provided a rich experience for me as an interviewer.

The interviews take around one hour to complete; some of the areas covered in the structured interview are personal contacts, housing and accommodation, education, health. Our target is to carry out these baseline interviews between now and early 2013; and after 12 months, carry out follow-up interviews with the same participants. This will enable us to evaluate the connecting people intervention. We hope to start receiving more and more referrals for participants for the study, and the new information leaflets should help with this.”

Training the agencies

Our next update comes from Martin Webber, who tells us a little bit about the process of training the agencies ready for their part in the pilot study.  We are currently in the midst of this training process and over the last week the team have been from Lincoln to Derby to Kent to Somerset to back home in London to deliver the training to the participating agencies…phew!

Training session in progress

“We have recruited 15 agencies so far to pilot the Connecting People Intervention, with a couple more in the pipeline. These vary from small third sector social enterprises to large NHS Mental Health Trusts. We have a good mixture of urban and rural sites and most regions of England are represented in the study. The multiple contexts we are piloting the intervention in will help us to find out more about where it can be implemented most effectively and produce the best outcome for people using their services.

Training session in progress

The intervention will be piloted by a variety of workers including social workers, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, community development workers and support time and recovery workers. Screening questionnaires suggest that workers and teams vary in their confidence in with working with people in the way articulated in the Connecting People Intervention model. We hope to see an improvement in their confidence following the training and support provided throughout the study. There are some signs of this happening already as we travel around the country to undertake the training.”

The wider reaches of the study…

To kick off our week of updates, David Morris talks a little about the ways in which the Connecting People research has an impact beyond just the study itself…

Connecting People is important not just for the outcomes of the study itself but for the ways in which the practices with which it works and the emerging messages from how to implement the model in practice are beginning to be felt elsewhere. We know that there are many teams who are not part of the study but whose members are very actively involved in creative approaches to supporting community connections for the individuals with whom they work. An important aspect of our study is generating wider reach; helping to illuminate this work in its richness and the ideas behind it.

At the same time, through our roles beyond the study, Connecting People is linking with other programmes like Connected Communities, a programme of work between UCLan and the RSA (together with LSE) and Inclusion Health, the national programme to address health inequalities and their social determinants in a number of particularly disadvantaged communities. We aim to continue building these links; to identify connections and to ensure that Connecting People reaches far beyond the areas in which we are currently working!

A week of updates…

It’s the end of summer and the Connecting People team are feeling relaxed and refreshed, not to mention sporty due to all of the Olympics that we have been watching.  We are raring to continue moving forward with the next stages of the project.

Each team member has been working on different aspects of the project over the summer.  Over the next week we will be updating you on these different aspects of the study to give you an idea of where we are up to, and what we are planning to do next.

Enjoy!