CLAHRC Community e-newsletter - Mental wellbeing

Published Date: 27 Sep 2018

e-newsletter - 
Mental Wellbeing

Issue 75

Welcome to the NIHR CLAHRC e-newsletter, bringing you news from across the thirteen collaborations and the applied health research community. This month’s theme is mental wellbeing.



Leading Applied Health Research together – take a look at the new infographic highlighting the CLAHRCs work across the UK. Deputy Director of CLAHRC Wessex leads personal development programme for women the 2018/2019 Springboard Programme. If you’re a CLAHRC early career researcher, register for this event just for you. The CLAHRC East of England Fellows’ Showcase will celebrate this year’s fellows, come and hear about their work and their experiences so far. Plus, CLAHRC North Thames researchers enjoyed success at the recent Public Health England Annual Conference – take a look at their award winning poster in partnership with Islington Council.

CLAHRC East Midlands

Health is Everyone’s Business – Plan Ahead 

The “Health is Everyone’s Business – Plan Ahead” booklet has been produced by the Centre for BME Health to support individuals understand the importance of advance planning and decision making about your personal welfare, property and financial affairs. The guide is free to download here

Helping Urgent Care Users Cope with Distress about Physical Complaints 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Health Anxiety booklet was developed to support people receiving treatment for health anxiety as part of a research study. It may also be useful for people trying to understand health anxiety and what might improve it. The booklet can be downloaded for free here.

The study produced eight video testimonials from participants who were involved in the study, sharing their experiences of having health anxiety and receiving the therapy.

CLAHRC East of England

The Mindful Student Study

The mindfulness student study was a randomised controlled trial with a sample size of just over 600. It assessed the provision of an eight-week, mindfulness skills for university students course which aimed to increase resilience to psychological distress during the main examination period.

Mindfulness participants were one third less likely to be experiencing distress at a clinically relevant level during the examination period.

Preventative mindfulness courses are acceptable to students and universities, and are feasible and effective components of a wider student mental health strategy. There is a need for comparative effectiveness research on preventative mental health interventions for students.

CLAHRC Greater Manchester

Move a Little & Often for people with depression and long term physical health conditions

Move a Little & Often is a behaviour change intervention which aims to reduce prolonged periods of sedentariness in this population group. It has been developed as part of a PhD study. 

A feasibility study is due to start; it will examine whether this intervention reduces time spent sedentary and other secondary outcomes such as pain, fatigue and symptoms of depression. Qualitative interviews with participants will explore the acceptability of the intervention and will help refine the intervention further.

CLAHRC North West London 

Improving Physical Health of Mental Health Patients in The Community

NIHR CLAHRC NWL  collaborated with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) through the SHINE Community project, to improve the physical health of mental health patients in the community. Their aim is to ensure that, through the SHINE projects based at CNWL, patients in the community are offered a full annual physical health assessment inclusive of appropriate interventions.

The researchers' proposals so far include:

  • Monitoring attendance  of a 2-day physical health training for mental health staff
  • Introducing a new process for inviting patients to physical health assessmentappointments
  • Integrating a physical health assessment with routine mental health appointments
  • Identify staff responsible for ordering and checking equipment needed for physical health assessments
  • To develop a list of physical health interventions, to ensure that patients are informed, updated and support regarding their physical health needs. 


Evaluating CAMHS services in Oxon and Bucks

Researchers in the Oxford Early Intervention Theme have been working with local commissioners to set up new school-based mental health services and clinical collaboration with third sector partners. It is hoped that these changes will improve the accessibility of and engagement with mental health services as early as possible in the course of a child’s illness.

Implementing evidence based depression care in the Oxford Cancer Centre (OCC)

Major depression is known to reduce adherence to cancer treatment, impair quality of life and limit peoples return to normal activities, even after successful cancer treatment. ‘Depression Care for People with Cancer’ (DCPC) addresses this, integrating traditional cancer care with psychological and pharmacological depression treatment. It is delivered by a team of cancer nurses and specialist psychiatrists working with the patient’s GP. This solution comprises a screening system, for identifying symptoms of depression in cancer patients, and the DCPC treatment approach itself. It is being implemented and evaluated in the Oxford Cancer Centre.

CLAHRC South London

Exposure to nature in cities beneficial for mental well being

Researchers at King’s College London, landscape architects J & L Gibbons and art foundation Nomad Projects have used smartphone-based technology to examine how exposure to natural features in cities affects a person’s mental well being.The team led by Dr Andrea Mechelli, King’s College London developed a smartphone app that monitors how exposure to different environments affects mental wellbeing in real time. Dr Ioannis Bakolis from the Centre for Implementation Science, which is part of CLAHRC South London led the writing up of the paper and the statistical analysis.


Supporting Teachers and Children in Schools (STARS)

The STARS study will examine whether the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management course can enhance teachers’ skills in promoting socio-emotional well-being among their pupils, with the help of primary schools across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.

Alcohol use and disorders (AUDs)

The aim of the project is to review the evidence to date in order to understand the effects of physical activity. It will look at how it is best delivered, in what setting, and among which population, to encourage the prevention, reduction and abstinence from AUDs and SUDs. 

Development of an Integrated Psychological Medicine service

Experiencing anxiety and depression alongside existing problems can worsen medical outcomes, putting strain of the patient, staff and resources. The aim of this projects is to provide excellent psychological care to patients attending the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) hospital by development of an Integrated Psychological Medicine service, which will run alongside routine medical and surgical care.

Interventions with healthcare practitioners to promote psychological well being and change heath behaviour

This systematic review aims to identify healthy workplace interventions in health care settings to determine whether they improve the health and wellbeing of staff.


Innovative research into the link between the urban environment and health urgently needed

Researchers are calling for more innovative studies into the link between changes to urban neighbourhoods and their impact on residents’ mental health and wellbeing. The research team at the University of Bristol and NIHR CLAHRC West reviewed existing studies on this subject, and found 14 studies.

Syrian mental health assessment and migration study (SHAMIS) pilot

Triggered by the Syrian war, 4.6 million Syrians now form what has become the largest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. This project, working with refugees and city councils in the CLAHRC West area, will develop research methods to assess local health needs. This work will also inform the planning of a larger-scale study to investigate the mental and physical health needs of Syrian refugees across the UK, and in other countries in Europe.

Evaluating a chronic pain peer support network

Treatment in a pain management or self-management programme can help people learn how to improve mobility, reduce reliance on drugs, and gain a sense of control over the pain. It can help them to re-establish their roles in family and social life. But the positive impact of these programmes isn’t always sustainable after the programme has ended.

We are evaluating North Bristol NHS Trust’s patient-led peer support network that aims to help patients self-manage chronic pain.

Review finds psychological therapies are effective for adults with treatment-resistant depression

An NIHR-funded review has found that adults with treatment-resistant depression who are given psychotherapy in addition to usual care – taking antidepressants – had fewer depressive symptoms after six months, compared to those continuing with usual care. The researchers also found that patients who had psychotherapy – also known as talking therapy – in addition to usual care, were twice as likely to be depression free.

CLAHRC West Midlands

Routine measurement of emotional wellbeing in children and young people

The CLAHRC-WM Youth Mental Health Theme has been approached by Public Health, Coventry City Council, to support them in the implementation of routine measurement of emotional wellbeing in children and young people in primary and secondary schools in the city.

The team is developing an online hub through which students in Coventry will be able to complete the yearly measures in the comfort and security of their school environment. All data will be owned by individual schools and shared with the CLAHRC Research team, following anonymisation, who will produce yearly reports for schools. We hope this collaboration between CLAHRC-WM, Coventry City Public Health and schools will cement an ongoing relationship between these partners with the aim of improving children and young people’s mental health and well-being.

CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber

Diabetes and Mental Illness: Improving Outcomes and Services

People with a severe mental illness have poorer physical health and a shorter life expectancy compared to the general population. Diabetes contributes to this inequality; people with severe mental illness are 2-3 times more likely to develop diabetes and to experience more diabetic complications (such as blindness, kidney problems, strokes, and death).

The DIAMONDS research programme aims to address this inequality by constructing an evidence base which can shape service provision. The DIAMONDS programme encompasses a range of workstreams including: literature reviews; EMERALD, a mixed methods study comprising longitudinal patient record analysis and qualitative interviews.