March Update

This month we published two blogs written by PhD students affiliated to the Mental Health Research Group. Both Susan and Angela are engaged in important work that focuses on areas of which the public – including many of us working in mental health – are unaware. On Delusion Awareness Day, Angela gave us an insight into the occurrence of delusions in intensive care. Susan then brought our attention to the difficulties eating, drinking and swallowing that may be experienced by people with mental health conditions on Swallowing Awareness Day.

Out and About

Liz was invited to speak at a joint mental health and HIV cross party group at the Scottish Government on 20th March. Liz described her systematic review (available free from The Lancet) of blood borne viruses in people with serious mental illness and how there is limited data in BBV prevalence in this group in the UK. She then introduced her new feasibility study of sexual health promotion for people with severe mental illness: the Respect study (details coming soon).

Nicola held a very successful World Café event on 14th March in collaboration with staff from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH). Thirty-five carers and carer champions attended the event and their contributions (pictured) – and some very large slices of cake – made the day a great success. We learned a lot about what carers want from health research and how they would like to be involved. The project is funded by the School of Healthcare Pump Priming Fund and supported by the RDaSH Patient and Public Engagement Team.

John attended the two-day Educational Meeting on the Multidisciplinary Management of Acute Disturbance hosted by the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) and the National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care & Low Secure Units (NAPICU). The event made it clear just how little research has been conducted into the use of rapid tranquilisation (particularly how to reduce its use), and services users’ views of this practice. Evidence-based guidance on the clinical management of acute disturbance (de-escalation and rapid tranquilisation) produced jointly by BAP and NAPICU in 2018 is available online from BAP.

Latest Publications

Sexual Violence and Mental Health Services: A Call to Action

Liz published an editorial in which she issues a call for action on sexual violence in mental health services. In the absence of routine enquiry about experiences of sexual violence, the editorial explores the evidence and makes some recommendations about how staff can discuss sexual issues.

Provision of Care for Women in the Postpartum Period (STUDY Protocol)

Rebekah Shallcross, who recently joined us here in Leeds, has published the protocol for the ESMI study, a collaboration with University of Manchester and Kings College London. The study will compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mother and baby units with general psychiatric inpatient wards and crisis resolution team services.

Staff Experiences and Understandings of the REsTRAIN Yourself Initiative

Finally, John has published the first in a series of papers coming out this year that present findings from REsTRAIN Yourself. REsTRAIN Yourself is the UK adaptation of “6 Core Strategies”, an intervention designed to reduce the use of restrictive practices. The study was led by Professor Joy Duxbury, now at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the toolkit is free to download.

World Café: What do carers want from mental health research?

Nicola, Kathryn and John are excited to be working in partnership with Doug MacInnes at Canterbury and Christchurch University and Cheryl Watkinson at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) to understand the best ways to involve and recruit informal carers in mental health research.

We’re doing this because we know that, in the UK, there are around 1.5 million carers (mostly family members) providing unpaid mental health care. Last year, RDaSH supported us to interview carers about their experiences of transitions between mental health services. The carers we spoke to told us that they don’t always feel listened to or supported, but despite feeling stressed, they said that providing care can be rewarding. By listening to carers in these interviews, we realised that carers provide essential care and have important caring skills that we know little about. We plan to do more research with carers but…

“Carers are rarely asked for their priorities for research.”

We want to ask carers in mental health about research they want to see, what topics are important to them, how researchers should involve them as partners and recruit them as research participants. Carers are not often asked what mental health research they would like to see carried out and are rarely involved as co-producers or partners in research projects. We plan to share what we find with other researchers and carers to make sure that carers’ voices are louder in mental health research in the future.

“What research do carers want to see?

What topics are important are important to carers?

How can researchers involve carers as partners in research?

How can researcher recruit carers to participate in research?”

What is World Café?

…it’s a way to meet with a large group of different people to answer questions that are important to the guests – in this case, about carer involvement in research. The event will look and feel like a café and cake and hot drinks will be served.

Guests move from table to table to join in conversations about participation in research, supported by a table host. The table hosts will be carers, NHS staff or researchers. We will provide coloured pens and invite guests to write or draw their ideas on the paper tablecloths. We will take the tablecloths away and use these to help us understand carers’ views.

Example of World Café Tablecloth

The School of Healthcare at University of Leeds has provided funding for this event so that we can ask these questions by holding a World Café on the 14th March 2019 at The Doncaster DomeIf you would like to attend this World Café, you can book using the information in the link above or by contacting us or Nicola Clibbens directly.

Follow Nicola on Twitter @UniLeedsMH

Have you attended a World Café before? Do you have questions we should ask at the World Café? We would be delighted to receive comments or ideas.