IMPART: Implementing an online support package for carers

What is this study?

The Implementation of a Relatives Toolkit (IMPART) project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research programme. It is looking at how to implement a digital mental health intervention into routine clinical care. The focus of the study is an online self-management resource produced for relatives supporting a family member with psychosis, in particular, through the first episodes of psychosis. The resource, known as Relatives Education And Coping Toolkit (REACT), was written with family members and was piloted successfully. The IMPART study is led by Professor Fiona Lobban from Lancaster University and is being delivered in three NHS Trusts in the north of England and three in near London.


Why is this research important?

Family members, relatives and carers can play a huge support role in the lives of people managing a mental health crisis and recovery. This group of people are poorly served by mental health services and the research community. We know too little about how best to support relatives and work with them to support mental health service users. This research seeks to provide an easily accessible, evidenced-based support package for families and test how to implement it in NHS settings. This is no easy task! We are over half way through the study and there are lots of barriers to using a digital intervention for carers in the case study sites. This research will explore in detail barriers and facilitators to implementation – hopefully with wider applicability lessons than the current resource alone.


How are McPin involved?

We were asked to join the study because we were involved in creating the REACT resource and to support carer involvement within IMPART. We have done that by recruiting a stakeholder reference group in each of the six case study sites to support the implementation and research team. We also have peer researchers – one carer and one service user – contributing to the study on a consultancy basis.


What is the current status of the project?

This project started in April 2016 and ran for two years.

Read a blog by Vanessa Pinfold about her experiences at a carer conference discussing where the work should go next.

Read a blog by Sheena Foster and Julie Billsborough, peer researchers on the project, about what can be learnt from trying to implement the first digital mental health intervention in the NHS.


Who do I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact Vanessa Pinfold by email: