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The Primrose project: severe mental illness and physical health

  1. What is this research?

The Primrose project is a large scale study led by researchers at University College London. People with mental health problems may have a higher risk of physical health problems, such as heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) and diabetes. These physical health problems often go undetected and untreated, as people’s mental health is seen as a priority over the secondary concern of people’s physical health. The Primrose project is designed to change that and is developing a service in GP surgeries to improve people’s physical health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) of people with mental health problems and carers is acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the Primrose project and offering insights and recommendations to improve the service in GP surgeries.

Part of the role of the LEAP has been to design its own research study. The group decided to explore why service users decide to take part or decline invitations to join a research study. More information is available: Primrose study advert

 

  1. Why is this research important?

The physical health problems of people with mental health problems are often ignored and go untreated. The Primrose project is designed to remedy this and places the physical health of people with mental health problems at the heart of care. The LEAP provides insight drawn from lived experience of mental illness that improves the service in GP surgeries to help people better manage their physical and cardiovascular health. People in the LEAP are given a voice at the centre of research in order to develop a more effective and meaningful service for people at risk of heart disease and stroke. In the LEAP designed qualitative research study, members of the LEAP have designed and will deliver the research as peer researchers.

  1. What are we doing?

A Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) of 30 people is acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the Primrose project. A LEAP sub- group of 8 people has offered advice and recommendations on improving the service in GP surgeries. The LEAP has offered numerous feedback and development to the Primrose project, so that the service is improved and more meaningful for people with mental health problems and their carers. It has also looked at how to help the researchers deliver their study by problems solving around recruitment challenges. The LEAP created an engaging information leaflet and thank you post cards. The qualitative study sub-group has 3 LEAP members. Ethics committee approval from UCL was gained April 2015 and the team has received training prior to data collection commencing July 2015.

 

  1. What is the current status of the project?

The Primrose project is currently involved in a trial that is testing whether the service in GP surgeries is effective and successful in helping people manage their cardiovascular health. If the pilot and trial is successful and helps people it will be rolled out to other GP surgeries. The LEAP is involved in a research project led by people with lived experience of mental illness that is looking at recruiting people to research and trials (which is often a barrier and difficult) and better engaging people in health services. The user-focused qualitative research study is waiting to recruit participants. The aim is to complete both studies by February 2016.

For current updates:

The Primrose project: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/primrose

LEAP blog: http://primroseleap.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 5. Who do I contact for information

If you would like more information about the study, please do get in touch: contact@mcpin.org