York St John University
The Bridge
September 2009
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Bridging the gap between research and practice
Welcome to the latest edition of the Research Centre for Occupation & Mental Health’s e-bulletin, The Bridge. On the 1st September 2009 it was RCOMH’s great pleasure to host, with one of our founding partners The Retreat in York, a festschrift for Jennifer Creek.
A festschrift is a book honouring a respected academic but the event, itself, was an opportunity to mark Jennifer’s retirement and note her many achievements...
A festschrift for Jennifer Creek
The event was a real celebration of Jennifer as a scholar and all she has achieved in her career as an occupational therapist. In the 40 years since she qualified she has been a practitioner, educator, theorist, and researcher and has made her mark nationally and internationally. There can be very few occupational therapists who have qualified in the mental health field in the last twenty years who have not been touched by her work. There were a number of presentations on the day which touched on the different aspects of Jennifer’s career as well as presentation from Jennifer on ‘The art of scholarship’ and playback theatre.

See http://w3.yorksj.ac.uk/research/research-centres/rcomh/festschrift-to-honour-jennifer.aspx for photos, the PowerPoint presentations and some limericks!

Sarah Cook’s presentation, ‘Research –Walking, talking and building with Jennifer Creek’, focussed on Jennifer’s contribution to research. Sarah walked the audience through how Jennifer’s landmark publication ‘Occupational Therapy as a Complex Intervention’ has enabled her to develop an intervention schedule for use in randomised controlled trials. This was a tangible example of how inextricably linked theory is to research practice, and how theory developed by Jennifer is informing research practice.

All of the papers from the day, as well as other reflections on Jennifer's contribution and messages of goodwill, will form the book that will be presented to Jennifer later. If you would like to write a contribution to Jennifer's festschrift reflecting on her contribution to occupational therapy and/or a message of goodwill please send your contribution no later than 31st October 2009 to s.copeland@yorksj.ac.uk.

STOP PRESS*******************STOP PRESS  Getting service users involved in research studies? Using this DVD may help....
A DVD, called ‘One in Four’, has been created to reflect the fact that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem at some time in their lives. Research is essential in order for us to understand why people develop mental health problems and to discover how best they can be treated. Every year more than 250,000 people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals and it has been estimated that improved mental health care could save the Government as much as £3.1 billion a year. Research is key to improving these services. However, conducting research in mental health can often be difficult due to the challenges in getting service users to get involved in research studies. This new DVD aims to address this problem by raising awareness about mental health and mental health research.

To request copies of the DVD please e-mail mhrn@iop.kcl.ac.uk.  

If you would like to view the presentations and interviews from the launch of the One in Four DVD please go to http://www.joosetv.com/mhrn1/.

For more information please go to www.mhrn.info

New deputy director for RCOMH

In order to keep up with the work as a result of the phenomenal success of RCOMH, since its launch in January, Dr Alison Laver Fawcett has recently been appointed as the deputy director for RCOMH. So who is Alison...?

Alison has been an occupational therapist for 23 years, and first became interested in the relationship between people’s occupational performance and mental health when working as a basic grade therapist in a day hospital and acute ward for people with mental health problems in the 1980s. She has a PhD in psychology (neuropsychology and psychometrics), related to the development and standardisation of the ‘Structured Observational Test of Function’. She now works as a senior lecturer at York St. John University. Her research focus relates to the impact occupational engagement has on the mental health of older people, particularly people with dementia. She is currently partnering with colleagues to develop a RCOMH research programme related to Occupation and Older People’s Mental Health. Her research interests have stemmed from eight years working as a modernisation manager in an Older People’s Mental Health Service and her involvement with the development of the National Dementia Strategy.

Much of her published work has related to assessment and outcome measurement and she is author of ‘Principles of Assessment and Outcome Measurement for Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists: Theory, Skills and application’. Alison has recently been elected as the British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists (COT) Council member for international affairs / World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) delegate and will be serving a four year term in this role.

Alison is committed to the mission of and the research programmes in RCOMH. We are delighted to have her on board in the role of Deputy Director to support the development and vision of RCOMH.

Dr Alison Laver Fawcett
Deputy Director RCOMH


Part of RCOMH’s role is to be focal point for research so that people can link up with other people researching in the same area. To this end we have had a request from an occupational therapist, Katie Greathead, who is working in the STEP (Support and Treatment in Early Psychosis) Team in Lincoln. She is looking for people who would be interested in developing research about the use of mobile phones in early intervention in psychosis.

Katie says “Our service users range in age from 16 to 35 and are predominantly young males, the majority of whom use mobile phones. I have found that making mobile phone calls a useful way of making contact, checking if service users are in when you visit and being an appropriate means of access if they need to get hold of you, especially if they are in a crisis.

More importantly, by sending and receiving text messages we can do all of the above and maintain communication when a service user may not want to answer a phone call directly, feels too paranoid to do so and does not quite know if they can trust you and/or are still weighing you and the service up. They do, however, appear to like and benefit from someone maintaining an interest in them and their everyday lives by informal text messaging. This can be really effective when beginning to engage with new service users and guide the process of developing a meaningful therapeutic rapport.

Are there any other people out there, ideally working as a researcher or in early intervention (or both?), who would like to be part of a research project on the use of mobiles in therapeutic interventions with service users? Please contact me directly - Katie.Greathead@lpft.nhs.uk

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