We may not have blogged for a while, but we’ve been making a lot of progress on the Community Navigator study! Here are some of the highlights:
- We started recruiting people to take part in the study in April 2017 and hit our target of recruiting forty people in August 2017. The 30 participants who were assigned to receive the programme of support have begun to meet with their Community Navigators for 1:1 sessions and at the optional group meet-ups.
- We’ve begun running the meet-up groups. The idea behind the meet-ups is to provide opportunities for our participants to meet each other, discuss the programme’s aims and their own progress, and share information about local groups, activities and services that they have a positive experience of. The first group for our Camden & Islington (C&I) participants took place at the beginning of August and the one for our Barnet participants took place at mid-September.
- We’ve published the study protocol in the journal BMC Trials and you can take a look here: https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-017-2226-7
- Members of the study team attended the European Network of Mental Health Service Evaluation (ENMESH Conference) in the Netherlands. At the conference we presented our work on coproducing a Theory of Change for the project and it won a Best Poster Award!
- Follow-up Interviews and Qualitative data collection have begun and will continue until early next year.
If you want to know more, then keep reading below!
Outline of Meet-up Groups
Both of our meet-ups followed a flexible agenda, which was co-produced by the Community Navigators and the study’s working group that is made up of researchers, experts by experience and clinicians. The meet-ups started with introductions and an icebreaker activity, in which people looked at photographs of places around their borough and tried to guess where they were. This activity was particularly successful in initiating discussion and giving people a chance to get to know one another. The icebreaker was followed by a short break for refreshments and a chance to mingle.
What was next? The Groups 4 Health quiz! Clients and Community Navigators completed a Groups 4 Health exercise that involves ranking factors according to how important they are for our health. Once people ranked the factors, the Community Navigators showed them a graph of the general public’s rankings when asked the same question, and then showed participants another graph, which shows the real importance of each of these factors, based on the latest research. Contrary to what most people assume, social support and social integration are actually the most important factors for health in this list. People were really interested to hear each other’s ratings and a vigorous discussion followed about which factors are important and why. Each of the meet-ups came to an end after about two hours.
Reflections on Meet-up Groups
Attendees from both groups provided very positive feedback, and found the groups helpful and enjoyable. A second group has been planned in C&I for November 2017, and in Barnet for January 2018. We were very pleased that, following the group meetings, some of the participants have made connections and arranged to meet up together, or arranged a future Community Navigator session together with another participant.
A poster designed by Vanessa Pinfold (Study co-applicant, McPin Foundation) about the theory of change behind the Community Navigator programme won the best poster award at the ENMESH conference in the Netherlands. The topic of the conference was “Conceptualising, measuring and influencing context in mental health care: from the individual to the society”, and took place on October 5, 6 & 7, 2017. We won the poster prize for Theme 3: Approaches – using the patient’s own context, which was 250 euros. Our poster showed our current version theory of change (Version 18!), and celebrated that we had involved researchers, service users, and clinicians in the process.
Trial protocol paper
The final phase of the Community Navigator study is a feasibility trial. We will use this to further test and refine the Community Navigator programme of support, and check that recruiting and retaining people to take part in a randomised trial of the intervention can be achieved. The trial protocol, which sets out how we will run the trial, was registered in advance, and has now been published in BMC Trials. It is available here: https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-017-2226-7
You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter or get in touch with Dora by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find out more about the study on our main webpage, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/epidemiology/community-navigator-study/.