Award Title: Research project
Start date: 1 January 2022
End date: 31 March 2024
Location of Research: Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Sheffield
Project Title: Connecting Community Mental Health Support
The NHS Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults (2019) sets out a vision for place-based mental health support which integrates primary and secondary mental health services, public health, social care, and the third sector. However, many service users report a lack of integration across current services, and resultant difficulty accessing the support they need in a timely manner.
This study aims to inform an integrated whole system approach to mental health improvement and reduction of mental health inequalities through improving connections between primary and secondary mental health services, public health, social care and the third sector.
We will conduct a scoping review of the current evidence base underpinning integrated mental healthcare.
Service users will participate in group concept mapping workshops, during which they will write statements regarding how to improve integration among mental healthcare services, and discuss how these statements relate to one another. Service users will sort these statements into conceptually similar groups in a way that makes sense to them. We will then use concept-mapping software to produce maps depicting service users’ views on how to improve integration among mental healthcare services.
The workshops will be complimented with one-to-one semi-structured interviews with service users and service providers to investigate their experiences regarding the link-up between services and the extent to which the current system is accessible, relevant to needs, and tackles inequalities.
Based on the findings from the workshops and interviews, we will co-produce recommendations for change.
We will share our recommendations with stakeholders across the mental healthcare system (primary and secondary care, local authority public health teams, social care and the third sector) and facilitate the creation of an action plan to improve links across the system.
The project will have an impact over the longer term for service users in the form of a more tailored and integrated support system for their mental health. This will particularly benefit underserved communities, who are at higher risk of mental health difficulties, and yet may find the current system less accessible.
The findings will have transferable learning to other geographical areas both in the field of mental health and in other areas of health, in the form of overarching principles, policies and ways of working that can be adapted to local contexts. Finally, there will be impact in the form of new knowledge regarding suitable research methods to address questions relating to system change.