This project gives people the opportunity to discuss stigma and disclosure of their experiences of psychosis in one-to-one sessions with a peer support worker. They explore their relationships with stigma and discrimination, and comfortable and empowering ways to disclose aspects of their mental health.
Phase one is complete. This involved speaking to peer support workers, service users and staff from the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is one of the primary sites where the project will be implemented.
Phase two is a small trial of the one-to-one peer support sessions, and is now underway.
The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), developed from the Honest, Open, Proud programme in the USA led by Prof Pat Corrigan, the National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment, and Dr Jon Larson at the University of Illinois.
Whilst research suggests that attitudes to some mental health issues are improving, such as depression or anxiety, this improvement has not been seen in relation to others, such as psychosis, as highlighted by the recent Time to Change campaign See the Bigger Picture.
Negative public beliefs about psychosis may make people who experience psychosis think or feel negatively about themselves. This is called internalised stigma.
Stigma and discrimination can act as barriers to recovery from mental health issues and can also worsen existing issues.
The project is informed by peer support principles that aim to lessen the power imbalances in traditional mental health services.
Lived experience of mental health issues runs throughout the project. The Honest, Open, Proud programme and the Let’s Talk adaptations for the UK context have been developed by people who have experienced mental health problems.
A McPin senior peer researcher is helping oversee the study, with a particular focus on providing insight from their own lived experiences of mental distress and previous roles as a peer worker in the NHS.
They have supported the development of the intervention for a UK context, including the training of peer support workers and preliminary data analysis.
Many members of the research team also worked from a lived experience perspective, implicitly and explicitly bringing aspects of their mental health to the work.
Analysis of data from our qualitative interviews with people who have experience of psychosis and peer support workers is ongoing.
The feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial started in early September 2021 and will run until July 2023.
More information is available at www.psychosisresearch.com or by contacting the Chief Investigator Melissa Pyle at [email protected].
Interventions • Psychosis
Maudsley Charity: Living Well with Psychosis