1. Impact on family carers

PhD research project

Project title

An exploration of the factors that impact on family carers providing care and support to people with severe mental illness and physical long term conditions.

Related research centres

  • Centre for Mental Health Research (Long-term Mental Health Conditions Group)
  • Centre for Health Services Research (Management of Long Term Conditions Group)

Project description

Mental health and physical health services are known to be fragmented within the NHS (Naylor et al. 2012). This can have a major impact on the management of physical health needs of people with SMI. Our 18 month study in East London on the challenges faced by mental health service users in managing their Type 2 diabetes has illustrated a gap in support available to carers of people who live with both a SMI and long-term physical condition(s). Interviews with service users and healthcare professionals illustrated the crucial role provided by carers in supporting the day-to-day management of physical long-term condition(s) of people with severe mental illness (e.g. medication management, dietary adaptations, check-up reminders, moral support). Carers can play a key role in health promotion and prevention of further complications for the people they care for.

Whilst there are tools and resources available for carers of people who live with a single condition, there appears to be a gap in the literature with very little support and few resources available for carers of people who support the physical health needs of people with SMI. Very little knowledge is available as to whether any intervention to support this particular group of carers would be useful. The overall aim is to identify the factors that impact on family carers providing care and support to people with severe mental illness and physical long term conditions and to explore potential interventions to help this population.

Recommended skills and prior learning

  • Experience of research with people with SMI and LTCs
  • Experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Working with NHS and third sector organisations

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London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

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