Improving mental health care in Sierra Leone

Although we’ve been quiet on the blog, the Connecting People Intervention project in Sierra Leone has been evolving over the past several months.

Since Meredith’s visit to Sierra Leone in July, we have been working on developing a model of practice rooted in the CPI and training programme for community-based nurses. The project considers how social interventions, developed in partnership with community members involved in mental health care, might increase the chance of recovery.

Meredith and Martin are now making plans to visit in May to meet with stakeholders in the Ministry of Health & Education, the Mental Health Coalition, the Ethics and Scientific Review Committee, and leaders at the University of Makeni. The purpose of this visit will be two-fold; firstly to continue developing our partnerships and ensure the projects meets equally defined needs, secondly to facilitate creative sessions to develop the culturally-relevant training programme. We will then return to Sierra Leone to pilot the training programme with community-based nurses and involving local research students.

This video was produced by The Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2), based at the University of York. C2D2 is supported by a Wellcome Trust ‘Institutional Strategic Support Fund’ award, and funded the first phase of the Sierra Leone project, the feasibility study. The next stage of the project, including the development of a model of practice and the nurse training programme, is funded by the Maudsley Charity.

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Intoducing our Latest Team Member

A belated welcome and blog post is due for Sam Treacy who has joined the study and is a researcher at the University of York, but is based full-time in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. Sam will be involved in conducting the follow-up interviews with both the service users and staff from within the agencies that have been involved in the Connecting People Study.

Sam’s background is in psychology, having worked predominantly with adults with mental health problems across community, inpatient and forensic settings. She has previously worked on research projects looking at substance misuse services across England, an RCT into the impact of Joint Crisis Plans, an international study looking at the stigma and discrimination experienced by mental health service users, and most recently a study looking at the outcomes and implementation of personal budgets for mental health service users in England.

We are sure that Sam will prove to be a great asset to the team and we look forward to working with her over the coming months.

International Centre for Mental Health Social Research Seminar

We are pleased to announce details of an upcoming seminar presented by Meredith Newlin to be held on Thursday 26 September 2013, 4:00 to 5:00pm at the University of York.

Developing social interventions for people with mental health problems in Sierra Leone

ICMHSR September 2013 Seminar

Recent estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) report an increase in the global burden of disease attributable to mental disorders. However, about four out of five people in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in need of mental health services do not receive them. Social interventions can help to fill the treatment gap for people experiencing mental distress in low and middle income countries. They have the potential to improve the quality of life and community engagement, as well as positively impact the social functioning of people with mental health problems.
To address this need we have conducted a feasibility study identifying needs in resource-limited mental health services in Sierra Leone. Early iterations of the adapted model alongside results from the feasibility study will be presented and discussed in this seminar.
All are welcome to attend. For further information or to express an interest in attending please contact Tracey Hawkes.
Further information about the event can also be found online at The University of York website.

Taking Learning Forward – Engagement Events September 2013

The Connecting People Study team are pleased to announce three engagement events being held this September across the country.

Taking Learning Forward

These events will give people the chance to;
• Find out more about the Connecting People Intervention
• Receive feedback on baseline findings from the study
• Have opportunities to network with other
agencies participating in the study
• Find out about what is happening next in the study

The event details are as follows.
• Tuesday 10th September held at Grapevine , Coventry

• Monday 23rd September held at UCLan, Preston

• Tuesday 24th September held at Kings College London

The events all commence at 10:30am and will finish at 2:00pm. Lunch will be provided.
These events are all free of charge but places are limited. For more details or to book a place please contact Tracey Hawkes.

Issue 4 Connecting People Newsletter

Here is issue 4 of the Connecting People newsletter. In this issue we have updates from the team as well as news about the International Issue 4Centre for Mental Health Social Research (ICMHSR). We also take a closer look at one of the agencies involved in the study, n-compass.

Please let us know what you think of the newsletter. Also, if you have ideas for things you want to see in Issue 5 please get in touch.

Many thanks

The Connecting People Study Team

Issue 3 Connecting People Newsletter

Here is issue 3 of the Connecting People newsletter. In this issue we have updates from the team as well as news of the development of a new training package encompassing video footage of the Connecting People Intervention in action. We also take a closer look at one of the agencies involved in the study.

Issue 3 Connecting People NewsletterPlease let us know what you think of the newsletter. Also, if you have ideas for things you want to see in Issue 4 please get in touch.

Many thanks

The Connecting People Study Team

Latest Recruitment Figures…

We have now conducted 119 interviews with participants from 13 different agencies. As previously confirmed, our recruitment target for the study is 240 interviews to be conducted by the end of April 2013. With the continued support of the agencies, we are hopeful that the final 3 weeks of recruitment can take us much closer to our target!

The recruitment stage is critical to ensuring the CPI study can produce meaningful results of health and social care practice in England.

Once again a massive thank you must go out to everyone who has been involved with these interviews up to now; participants, agencies, interviewers and study administrators. Your continued support with this process is greatly appreciated!

Recruitment Figures – An Update…

After a slow start with recruitment of participants for the study, December 2012 through to February 2013 have seen a real improvement in uptake.

We have now conducted 86 interviews with participants from 13 different agencies. Our recruitment target for the study is 240 interviews by the end of April 2013. The recruitment stage is critical to ensuring the CPI study can produce meaningful results of health and social care practice in England. With that in mind a big thank you must go out to everyone who has been involved with these interviews up to now; participants, agencies, interviewers and study administrators. Your support with this process is greatly appreciated!

The Reach of the Connecting People Study

This Connecting People Study blog site has now been running since June 2011. During this time the site has been visited 7,341 times.

The graphic below (click to enlarge) is a snapshot of visitor figures to our site over the last 30 days. It is interesting to note that whilst the majority of site traffic has come from within this country, there has also been a great deal of interest within Europe and internationally. Whilst our research is being conducted within England it is important to acknowledge that the matter of helping users of health and social care services to make new connections is not restricted to these shores.

A final statistic worthy of note is that our blog site received a record number of views this week with 231 views made on 25th February. A big thank you to all of our blog site regulars and newcomers for making this a record breaking week.

– The Connecting People Study Team

World Map Stats

Issue 2 Connecting People Newsletter

Here is Issue 2 of the Connecting People Newsletter. In this issue we are looking at the Connecting People Intervention in Practice, recruitment to the study and the process of interviewing participants.

Issue 2Please let us know what you think of the newsletter. Also, if you have ideas for things you want to see in Issue 3 please get in touch.

Many thanks

The Connecting People Study Team