York St John University
The Bridge
26 June 2008
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Bridging the gap between research and practice
Welcome to the second edition of the Research Centre for Occupation & Mental Health’s e-bulletin, The Bridge.

This bulletin is our main method for communicating with people interested in the work of the Centre.

Steering group meeting
At the end of May we held the RCOMH steering group meeting in York. The main items on the agenda were developing the Centre’s strategy and planning the national launch in London in October. In the meeting we confirmed the Centre’s mission but amended its aims to:
  • provide leadership in research in the field of occupation and mental health
  • empowering service users to actively participate in research programmes and the activity of the Centre.
    have a global perspective (ie ‘Research in action: local and global’)
  • focus on occupation and mental health
    develop and lead coordinated programmes of research, and
  • promote ownership of and responsibility for this research agenda

In line with these aims we are working towards a model of co-directorship with a service user. We will ensure that there is more than one service user involved in the steering group to avoid tokenism. The work plan will focus on developing robust research bids with PhD studentships built-in to try and develop research capacity as well as growing the evidence base. We are inviting a wide range of groups to the national launch of the Centre in October – if you have any suggestions of who we should invite please contact us at E: RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk

WORK project - Consultation event
The first project that the Centre has been funded to do is called ‘Work and mental health and well-being: a scoping study to develop an understanding of interdisciplinary research in the field (the WORK project)’. The project, funded by York St John University, falls under the auspices of the work for mental health and well being research stream. The project’s objectives are to:
  • examine the extent, range and nature of research activity on work and mental health and well-being and
  • map the interdisciplinary research on work and mental health and well-being and
  • identify gaps in the existing literature

So far the majority of literature searching has been undertaken. We recently held a consultation event with key players, ie service users, practitioners and researchers. Jain Holmes, Chair of the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Work, was one of the people who attended this event. (She has recently published Vocational Rehabilitation published by Wiley Blackwell.)

The consultation event was an exciting day in which there was a lot of debate but also a meeting of minds in terms of wanting to move the research agenda forward. In the first instance the event highlighted some additional avenues for literature searching that are currently being followed up. The need for an understanding of the UK picture was emphasised. The next steps will be to write up the findings (including the directions for future research) and then submit the final report in July 2008. This work will be used to develop a research programme based on interdisciplinary bids in the future. So watch this space...
For more information see

Journeys of Recovery
This is a report of some narrative research which should be useful to practice. The Scottish Recovery Network is a loose affiliation of organisations and individuals, from varied backgrounds, who share an interest in promoting recovery. One of its main aims is to learn more about the sort of things that help people to recover and stay well.

One of the ways that they are trying to achieve this is by conducting a large narrative research project to gather, analyse and share recovery stories from 67 people who have experienced long-term mental health problems.  The participants were interviewed to highlight factors that helped and hindered their recovery. The research highlights several common elements which were found to be helpful for recovery. The findings included:

  • developing a positive view of yourself and having hope for the future
  • having meaningful activities and purpose in your life and having your contributions and choices in life validated and valued
  • having supportive relationships
  • having the right mix of treatments and support

The study also highlighted that what the people in the study wanted was no different from what most people want in life. The full findings are available from the Scottish Recovery Network’s website (see below).

At York St John University one of our senior lecturers, Diane Cotterill, is leading a similar project working with undergraduates to explore how occupation is used by mental health service users to facilitate recovery using narratives. We hope these stories will complement the research work of the Centre.

For more information see www.scottishrecovery.net

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