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Barts Charity to fund City mental health research

Study to investigate diabetes care in people with severe mental illness
by George

nullResearchers from City University London have been awarded nearly £30,000 from Barts Charity to investigate diabetes care in people with severe mental illness.

People with severe mental illness (SMI) are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared with the general population. As a result, the team will speak to service users and healthcare professionals to gain a greater understanding of the views of people with SMI regarding the management of their diabetes. The study is in collaboration with clinicians in East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), clinical researchers at the Blizard Institute Centre for Primary care and Public Health and Queen Mary University London.

Developed in consultation with clinicians, diabetics with SMI, and members of Service User and Carer Group Advisors in Research (SUGAR), the researchers aim to interview 15 service users with diabetes and SMI, and 15 health professionals from primary, secondary and community care. This will enable the team to explore:

  • what aspect of their diabetes service users with SMI find most difficult to manage;
  • the barriers and facilitators to enabling them to manage their diabetes; and  
  • healthcare professionals' views about how best to promote self-management among service users who have diabetes and SMI.

Initial work has begun with the bulk of interviews to be conducted in early 2015. Results are expected in July 2015.

Lead investigator Professor Alan Simpson, who also heads the Centre for Mental Health Research at City University London, said: "Self-management of diabetes is complex and the demands of managing diabetes when also living with mental illness present additional challenges for both service users and healthcare professionals.

"Increasingly, people with diabetes are being supported to self-manage their condition and treatment but very few studies include people who also have mental illness. In this study we hope that the work will inform the development of appropriate self-management education for people with diabetes and SMI. To do this we need to better understand the difficulties people experience and what they find helpful as well as asking health professionals for their views about how best to deliver diabetes care for this population."

The team members involved in the study are Professor Alan Simpson, Dr Kathleen Mulligan, Dr Hayley McBain, Dr Mark Haddad, Dr Chris Flood, Dr Julia Jones, Noeleen Hilton, Jackie Chapman and Dr Sally Hull.

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