Past project


Implementing an online support package for carers

Project overview

The Implementation of a Relatives Toolkit (IMPART) project looked at how to implement a digital mental health intervention into routine clinical care.

Its focus was an online self-management resource produced for relatives supporting a family member with psychosis, particularly through a first episodes.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research programme, the resource, known as Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit (REACT), was written with family members and piloted successfully.

The study was led by Professor Fiona Lobban from Lancaster University and delivered in three NHS Trusts in the north of England and three near London.

Project details

Family members, relatives and carers can play a huge support role in the lives of people managing a mental health crisis and recovery. However, this group is also 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.

There were lots of barriers to using a digital intervention for carers in the case study sites, which the research explored in detail, along with the facilitators to implementation.

We were asked to join the study because we were involved in creating the REACT resource and to support carer involvement within IMPART.

We did this by recruiting a stakeholder reference group in each of the six case study sites to support the implementation and research team. We also had peer researchers – one carer and one service user – contributing to the study on a consultancy basis.

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.

You can also 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.

Project resources


Feasibility of a supported self-management intervention for relatives of people with recent-onset psychosis

A paper from the REACT study
Digital mental health • Psychosis | 20th September 2023

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.