York St John University
The Bridge
26 September 2008
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This e-bulletin is our main method for communicating with people interested in the work of the Centre so we hope you find it interesting and informative, please feel free to send any feedback or comments about the work of the Centre to E: RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk 


For further information about the Centre please visit www.yorksj.ac.uk/rcomh or E: RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk


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Bridging the gap between research and practice

Welcome to the third edition of the Research Centre for Occupation & Mental Health’s e-bulletin, The Bridge.  We hope that you have had a good summer – despite the weather!

Student bursary: The Employment Study
A consultation event, which was held as part of The WORK project, identified that we needed to develop a greater understanding of what service users think is important in facilitating people with mental health problems to stay in, or regain, employment. As a direct result of this ‘The Employment Study’ was developed to explore what facilitates people with mental health problems to gain or return to paid/meaningful employment. The study objectives are to:
  • Develop an understanding of perceptions and/or previous experiences of accessing paid/meaningful employment
  • Investigate what support is needed to gain/maintain paid employment
  • Consider the impact of meaningful employment to the individual

We have been extremely fortunate to have been awarded a TQEF Research Informed Teaching ‘Students as Research Assistants’ bursary (snappy title we know!) to conduct this study. This means we have been able to employ an occupational therapy student, Sheena Good, as a research assistant over the summer to work on this study.

The study is nearly complete so we will be able to report the findings in a future bulletin. This partnership between an academic (Katrina Bannigan) and student provides a great model for growing the evidence base of the profession. As well as enabling students to develop knowledge they are also able to hone their research skills so they will be better equipped to evaluate their practice in the future.

Spotlight on our partners: The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) are proud to be a founding partner in the Research Centre for Occupation in Mental Health (RCOMH).  SLaM is a large mental health Trust providing mental health and substance misuse services in Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark; substance misuse services in Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley; as well as specialist services for people from across the UK.  It is a cross between a large local mental health trust and a teaching hospital, and is a world leader in research, working in partnership with the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and is part of the Academic Health Sciences Centre, a collaboration between King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and SLaM.

The Occupational Therapy Service forms a significant part of the workforce, who work in and are integral to, a range of the services across the Trust.  The interdisciplinary focus of RCOMH mirrors the ethos of the SLaM workforce.  SLaM is thrilled to be involved with a centre that has this collaboration of themes rather than a purely professional perspective. 

For all clinicians research should be embedded into practice; for clinicians working within SLaM it is part of their core business given it is home to the only mental health Biomedical Research Centre in the UK, thus, the opportunity to enter into the RCOMH partnership is timely.  It is excited by the aims of the Centre which are to develop research in the broader area of occupation and mental health and the true commitment to active service user participation and the global perspective.

SLaM is scoping the research capacity building opportunities within its occupational therapy workforce and strategic avenues in which to pursue these ambitions within RCOMH’s three work streams.  Gabrielle Richards, Professional Head of the Occupational Therapy Service and Chair of the Social Inclusion, Recovery and Rehabilitation Board for the Trust says: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be at the cutting edge of research in this innovative collaboration”.

Please click on the link to access the SLaM internet site:

Focus on funding: National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health has a call for bids under the heading "Functioning of People with Mental Disorders". The call focuses improvements in daily functioning and so is ideally suited to those of us interested in occupation and mental health. You can apply for up to $250,000 (approx £138,837). The closing date is 5 October 2008 but there will be other calls in the future. So, if you have a project idea and cannot meet the 5 October deadline why not start working on a bid for the future? The more time you can put into planning and organising bids the better. See http://rdfunding.org.uk/Queries/ListGrantDetails.asp?GrantID=13292 for more details. Remember you can always make an appointment at our research clinic if you would like to discuss how to go about developing a bid contact us on E: RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk.
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