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Academics discuss mental health research at psychiatric nursing conference

Researchers from the Centre for Mental Health Research organised innovative workshops and spoke widely about their work

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Researchers from the Centre for Mental Health Research at City University London organised innovative workshops and spoke widely about their research at the recent Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference.

Running every year, the NPNR is an international network for psychiatric nursing research attracting mental health nurses, researchers, academics and professionals from around the world. The NPNR is administered by the Royal College of Nursing and Mental Health Nurse Academics UK.

As part of the event, the SUGAR (Service User & Carer Group Advising on Research) team, facilitated by Dr Julia Jones, organised an interactive workshop which was delivered by service users, carers and mental health researchers to explore the benefits and challenges of working collaboratively with service users and carers from the very beginning of a research project.

sugar does dragons denDrawing on the format of Dragons’ Den, a popular BBC TV show, NPNR delegates were asked to propose a research idea that they would like to discuss with members of SUGAR in the workshop. The delegates were then invited to ‘pitch’ their idea in five minutes to the panel of SUGAR members, who then asked questions about the proposed research idea and made suggestions about how it could be developed further, including suggestions regarding how service users and carers can collaborate in the study.

The winning research idea came from a newly qualified mental health nurse from south-west England called Cher Hallett, whose proposed research idea is an evaluation of how mental health nurses administer medication via intra-muscular injections.

SUGAR members were impressed not only by the originality and importance of the topic but also by Cher’s passion to improve the care provided to mental health service users. As part of the prize, Cher will have the opportunity to be supported and mentored by SUGAR as the research develops and has been invited to come to City University London and discuss her research in greater detail at a forthcoming SUGAR meeting.
Other academics from the Centre for Mental Health Research also had a strong presence at the conference, with Professor Alan Simpson and colleagues leading a symposium on recent research in England and Wales on recovery-focused care planning (COCAPP).

Care planning and coordination is at the heart of effective mental health service delivery and is increasingly required to be personalised and focused on recovery, yet there has been little research conducted that explores these key aspects.

In this recent study, the team found that positive therapeutic relationships appeared most important in facilitating personalised, recovery-focused care planning and that excessive administrative tasks and inflexible information technology prevented care coordinators spending more time with service users and carers.

At the conference, the implications of these and other findings in relation to the future of recovery-focused, personalised care planning and coordination in community settings were discussed and future challenges were also explored.

Other academics from the School of Health Sciences also gave presentations, with Dr Chris Flood and Dr Sally Barlow presenting on ‘Measuring utility based health states amongst service users and the general population’, and Frédérique Lamontagne-Godwin presenting ‘First results of qualitative study: improving diabetes care for people with severe mental illness’.

Speaking about the conference, Professor Alan Simpson, lead of the Centre for Mental Health Research said:

“It was impressive to see so much excellent research from the School of Health Sciences presented at this leading mental health nursing research conference. There is brilliant work going on in the School on all facets of mental health research and it was great to share this with the wider psychiatric nursing community.”

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